HeadLines, Friday 9 June 2023
Over many years at Rose Hill School, we have seen so many cohorts of children benefit from the opportunities offered here. We have, for example, seen the quietest, least confident children gradually develop their performance and public speaking skills until they have turned into stars … and we are looking forward to EYFS and Lower School Assemblies and Macbeth in just a few weeks. We have seen children struggle with concepts or particular subjects in the classroom, only to have that lightbulb moment of understanding when something is explained to them in a new way. We have seen children practise and develop their musical skills from limited lessons to the playing of incredibly beautiful movements from concertos. It never ceases to amaze me how much the pupils’ knowledge, skills and talents grow during their time with us.
What has always impressed me the most about Rose Hill School and its pupils, though, is the journey of personal development that each child goes on during their time with us. The school’s programme of education and enrichment activities is constantly evolving to ensure that it absolutely reflects our core belief that happiness and personal growth are key to a child’s success. Our Focus Days, visits and residential trips, two of which have taken place this week, are a perfect example of this. Reception had the most exciting day at Hastings Aquarium and Year 6 parents have enjoyed Mr Hinchliffe’s daily blogs from their Norfolk residential. The Year 6’s ‘give it a go’ attitude has meant the children have spent the most exhilarating time in the outdoors; on low and high ropes, fencing, shooting, kayaking, paddle boarding and raft building to name but a few of the activities!
The educational aspects of these trips are carefully planned to enrich the children’s learning at school in many subject areas including geography, history, art, creative writing, science and languages. There is no doubt that the children gain new academic knowledge and skills during their stays away. But perhaps the most important gains they make from the residential trips are personal ones. Friendships are cemented and new life skills are developed such as making one’s own bed, developing the resilience to cope in a new environment, understanding that others may be finding things hard, being brave enough to try new things and learning to look at the world differently (and sharing your sweets with Mr Hinchliffe!). The confidence and self-esteem that arise from being pushed out of one’s comfort zone and experiencing the success of overcoming personal challenges should not be underrated. The child who is afraid but survives that fear learns how to manage uncertainty and to trust in their ability to cope. The child who is supported by friends or teachers during a difficult night or through an illness away from home learns that it is alright to express needs and depend on other relationships outside of the home. The child who tries something new – whether that is eating Japanese food (Year 3) or snails in France, (Year 7&8 are off to Paris) taking the ‘leap of faith’ on the activity equipment in the Norfolk or anything else – develops the courage to have a go at things without, or despite, fear of the unknown or thoughts of failure.
It sounds like an overstatement to say that we physically see the difference in classes of children back at school after residential trips, but it is not. Sometimes the children actually stand taller; sometimes they display more courage; sometimes they are better at articulating their thoughts or their needs. We often notice that they are more tolerant, more self-aware and more outward-looking. Always their friendships are strengthened and often their circle of friends is expanded. We hope that they also return home with a new appreciation for their parents and wider families and all that you do to support them on a daily – and nightly – basis.
I have been in school this week but we have been in touch with the staff who are away on the residential trip. Their commitment to the children’s care and development has, as always, been outstanding. Like the children, they will return today extremely tired but very happy and they too will have gained new skills and new knowledge, tried new things and developed their friendships. They will also have gained a deeper understanding of the children’s characters which will enhance the relationships between staff and children back at school. Thanks to all of the staff for their dedication.
The benefit of the Rose Hill School co-curricular programme of residential trips is enormous and long-lasting. We know that the trips can be exhausting for those involved and that Year 6 will spend the weekend recovering but it will have been worth it. All the children will have benefitted from their visits and trips – whether it is obvious immediately or not – more independent, more resilient, more responsible, more self-disciplined and more confident. Each of these qualities will underpin and enhance their self-worth and happiness. In short, they will have grown. Personal development like that is priceless.
Meanwhile, staff at school have also worked extremely hard as a team to cover those staff away and to ensure that the school has remained a lively, energised, interesting and productive environment for those children who have been here. It has been wonderful to see staff pulling together as always and I am delighted that it has been such a super week at ‘home’ as well as away. We have had an egg-cellent Science Week, with huge support from Mr Smith and Mrs Wilson. The partridges have made a slow entrance to the world!
Thank you to 5T, and your assembly on the funny side of Tudor medicine! Congratulations to those involved in the Green Goblin and football wins over half term!