News from Upper Prep

22nd March 2024

It has been an incredibly busy half term in Upper Prep – and this week was no exception!

Firstly, on Monday, Upper Prep enjoyed two fascinating careers talks from two parents of children at Barrow Hills.  John Miles studied Art and Industrial Design in Manchester then he went on to have a career at EA Games, including working on the Harry Potter games. He then started his own app company making Health apps for iPhones and Android phones.  Jacqui Roycroft is Head of Disclosure and National Security Interface.  This means that she leads a  team with the AI Safety Institute that manages a  process for disclosing testing results of AI models with National Security implications. Both talks were so interesting and the children asked lots of questions – and Madame Early and Mrs Mason would both now like to change careers!

On Tuesday, some of the Year 8 girls, and Emilia (7G),  went to the IAPS Netball National Finals – putting them in the top twenty independent schools in the country!  I know Mrs Burnett and Mrs Clark were so impressed with the way the girls played, fighting hard against some very challenging teams.  Well done, girls!  To get to a NATIONAL FINAL is an amazing achievement and we are very proud of you.

Also on Tuesday, the Year 8 English classes combined to enjoy a book quiz, a game – and Mrs Mason’s Bin Bag Challenge…!  Each group of four had a bin bag, some paper and tape and 15 minutes to  create a book character.  These bin bag costumes were truly amazing: we had Shmuel from The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas complete with stripes on the bin bag; a caterpillar with lots of legs from The Very Hungry Caterpillar; Harry Potter from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, with a tie, glasses and house crest; Shrek with paper horns, and a Willy Wonka who even had a paper top hat and cane!  Our guest judge, Mrs Goedkoop, was very impressed with all the outfits but awarded first place to  … Harry Potter.  Well done to everyone for taking part with such enthusiasm.

Drama IAPS took place on Wednesday and four drama scholars, Tess, Edith, Izzy A and Izzy R, went off to St Hilary’s school in Godalming to take part in this competition.  This is the first year Barrow Hills has competed in this competition and  I am delighted to say that both Izzy A and Izzy R were awarded Highly Commended certificates in the Year 8 Monologue class, and Tess came second with her monologue ‘Under Hypnosis’. Edith won the Solo Shakespeare class with her piece from A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Well done to all the drama scholars and Drama Captains for taking part.

Year 7 have been extremely busy this week organising their Crossbar Challenge as part of their Lent appeal.  They put up posters around the school advertising this event and then masterminded this event at both break times and lunch time!  Well done, Year 7!  Everyone loved taking part and I am sure you raised lots of money!  Thank you to everyone who donated – and to Year 8 for wearing silly hats on Thursday too!

It was a joy to hear ex Barrow Hillian, Toby B (OBH 2023), play a varied programme of organ music last Saturday night in the King Edward’s Chapel.  Toby left Barrow Hills last year at the end of Year 8 to  join The Royal Grammar School in Guildford as an academic scholar. He was Head Chorister for two years in the Bridewell Choir and has only been learning the organ since he was eleven. He played five pieces in preparation for a recital in London on Tuesday as part of KESW’s accreditation to the Royal College of Organists, as he is still taught by Mr. Sliwka. I last saw Toby when he played during the signing of the register at my wedding in August so it was lovely to catch up with him and his family and hear how he is getting on in Year 9. 

I also really enjoyed watching some of our old Barrow Hillians in KESW’s School of Rock on Wednesday. What a great show! Well done to Hugo (13+ drama scholar) and Lexi and Elsa (all 2023 leavers) – so pleased to see that you are still enjoying drama!

It was a pleasure to meet with some of the Year 6 parents on Thursday morning. Cleo and Charlie spoke with passion about ‘Life at the Top’ of the school  and it was interesting to share the plans for the Upper Prep Common Room too.

Finally, Year 8, you must have a good rest this Easter but your teachers have set some useful revision homework in the form of paper booklets and also some papers on the Year 8 Google Classroom.  These will help you prepare for your CE 13+ exams in June so please complete these at some point during the break.  Many have the mark schemes so you can see how you have got on  and measure your progress.

Thank you everyone for your support this term. Years 7 and 8, I wish you a peaceful and restful Easter break and see you soon!

Best wishes,
Mrs Mason

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