Summer Term 2
Dear Parents and Carers,
I hope this final newsletter finds you all safe and well. It is my pleasure to share the latest news from Muntham House School with you. Whilst the school has not been open to all pupils during COVID-19, we have continued working hard on projects around the school to improve the facilities and our overall environment ready for when the pupils all return in September.
I am very pleased to announce that I have created a plan for all of our pupils to return back to school in September on a full time basis and be taught in separate bubbles to ensure that all pupils and staff are kept safe. Designated staff will work only with their assigned bubble and each bubble will complete their learning in separate areas of the school. Pupils will start and finish at different times, have staggered break times, and separate sittings for lunch. This means all pupils will have slightly different start times and finish across the school. As I am sure that you can imagine this has been a difficult plan to organise, to ensure all pupils are kept within their own bubbles and to follow the government social distancing guidance but we are very much looking forward to having the pupils back to Muntham.
Whilst many other special schools have remained closed during lockdown, some mainstream schools have only opened for reception pupils and year 6, I am proud to report that Muntham House School never closed. The school has remained open throughout lockdown for our pupils of highest need. In September, we are planning for all of our pupils because they need to return to the structure and routine which Muntham House School provides. I would like to pass on my thanks to the entire staff team for stepping up and once again going above and beyond for our pupils to enable this to happen.
Thank you all for your continued support throughout COVID-19 to date, you have all done an excellent job in supporting your children through this. We are all very much looking forward to all pupils returning in September and filling the school with their energy and enthusiasm. Please click on the link below to view your child’s bubble, their timings and the staffing team which they been allocated.
I wish you all the very best for a great break over the summer and look forward to seeing you all back in September.
Muntham House pupils have worked hard throughout lockdown engaging in home/virtual learning to maintain their educational progress. Unquestionably one of our stars of lockdown has been Oscar Walton who has completed three full folders of written work.
Oscar’s handwriting was neat and his overall spelling, punctuation and grammar was excellent. I am impressed with Oscar’s effort and commitment and have very high hopes for him in the future at Muntham Hose school.
Well done Oscar, you are a Star!
The School Farm is also now fully completed and the first Muntham crops have been planted and are growing ready for the pupils to cultivate and pick ready for our school chef to use in the Kitchen.
We are working towards the Food for Life Award for the whole school which will involve all pupils across the school being involved in planting, growing, cultivating, cooking and eating Muntham home grown crops.
I would like to thank Mr Pusey, our Construction Teacher and his team, for their tireless work in completing this project. They have created a wonderful farming facility which can be used all year round by our pupils.
I am sure that all of our pupils will thoroughly enjoy using this fantastic farming facility and improving their knowledge in this area. Hopefully we will inspire many new young future farmers.
Two primary pupils have won Gold at the Engage in their Future Creativity Competition. This is the first time which we have ever achieved two gold awards at the same time and is recognition of the brilliance and creativity of our boys!
Ryan Hubbard and Ryan MacGavin entered the ‘Engage in their Future’ creative competition. Ryan Hubbard wrote a short story called ‘The Bridge’, This story was excellent and all about connections and relationships.
Ryan MacGavin took a beautiful photograph of his ring and used splashing water to create a natural effect. He spent a long time finding the right angles and position and kept trying until he got the perfect photo.
Both boys worked incredibly hard on their individual pieces of work and we are so proud of them.
Winning a National award is a huge achievement as this competition was open to all special schools across the country.
Winning two awards is Outstanding, so well done boys!
One of the many projects completed during COVID-19 has been this fantastic Forest School Classroom. This Classroom has been built by Mr Bolton our Forest School Teacher. This will provide a great space for outdoor learning to develop their bushcraft, forestry skills, outdoor cooking and survival skills.
This is such a wonderful extension to the pupils classroom experience, working, learning and playing in the outdoors. Using nature and the woods to teach the importance of conservation and the part nature and the outdoors plays in wider life.
Offering opportunities to build Self-Confidence, Self-Esteem and Resilience. Outdoor learning provides the opportunity for the pupils to take risks in a safe and controlled environment.
Outdoor learning will:
- Encourage exploration and discovery
- Allow for experience of appropriate challenge and risk
- Allow the participant to be in control of their own learning
- Develop positive relationships with others
- Help them learn about themselves
- Develop a positive relationship with the natural world
Once again the pupils at Muntham House School have been busy using MyOn and Accelerated reader, the pupils and I have all learnt so much about the MyOn programme and each other, which is going to be so helpful when supporting them with their reading.
I have been running a reading challenge alongside the MyOn project and we have had some fantastic results, please see below this Half Term's lucky reward winners.
Summer Reading Challenge
This Half Term’s Winners are
Congratulation to you all
MyON is multi-functioning: many of the books have audio so that pupils can listen while they follow the text, then can enlarge the pages, use dictionary tools, make notes in their own journal, and create their own reading lists. MyON remembers the last book they read, and where they got to. It also tells pupils how much timethey have spent reading and how many pages they have read in the session.
Please encourage your boys to log in over the summer to help continue with their progress, MyOn is showing that it can engage reluctant readers, this site may well have them enjoying reading!
Our pupils, your sons, have worked extremely hard and exceeded my expectations once again, showing they have a love of reading for pleasure as well as learning.
It has been a pleasure supporting the pupils and we are very proud of them.
Stay safe, well and in touch!
On the 8th of July Care members of staff visited all of our Essex pupils within their local area. All pupils were taken out to a local park for some fresh air, exercise and the opportunity to see each other and spend time with each other.
This was an important opportunity to provide face to face meetings with all of our pupils providing them with stability, reassurance and enjoyment in spending time with the Care staff team. All pupils where extremely pleased to see each other and the Care staff team. This also provided some respite for parents and carers.
All of the pupils and parents / carers were grateful for this visit and valued the opportunity to spend time with their key workers, it was pleasing to hear the success stories of just how hard our pupils have been working during lockdown. 100% of our pupils have engaged through the virtual learning and made use of the expert support available from Muntham House School staff.
It was lovely to see them and we all very much look forward to working with our pupils again when they return in September.
STARS OF LOCKDOWN FROM SECONDARY
Keeping up with GCSE level English work over the lockdown period has been hard. The studying is intense and the level of learning is high. It has proven to be a challenge for most pupils, some of who have fallen by the wayside.
I would like to recognise the efforts of three pupils:
Tyler Black (Y10)
Since we have been in lock-down, Tyler has completed all the work he has been set for English Language and English Literature. His most recent ‘Lockdown vlog’ (yes, vlog – video log) was an absolute triumph in which he used puns, factual information, personal insights and showed the attention to detail of changing his shirt for each vlog entry to make it look like they were filmed on different days when in fact the task was set and created in only one week. In addition to completing the work set, he has worked his way through a 70 page SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) book which has taken him hours. Upon finishing the SPaG book, he asked for another book to work through in his spare time. He has remained positive and determined throughout lockdown and has participated fully in his learning despite the change in circumstance. I could not be more proud of Tyler. He is an inspiration to me and I know that all the work he has put in will pay dividends in his final exams.
Alex Kitcherside (Y11)
On 18th March, Alex and his peers were told that their GCSE exams were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Can you imagine how that feels, knowing your whole school career will not come to a formal end, and all the learning, scrutiny of syllabi, revision and knowledge of mark schemes would not be validated by final exams? For a number of our pupils, this caused them to lapse into a pit of despair, making them unable to see the point in doing the work sent by teachers and giving up on the idea of college or indeed the future as they had imagined it would be. Despite initially experiencing many of these feelings, Alex completely changed his outlook. Knowing that more evidence was needed to reinforce his final submitted grades, he has been the only pupil in Year 11 to complete every piece of English work he has been set since lockdown began, going over and over it until he’s got it right, and reaching out for English support and additional teaching when he has struggled. I am hugely impressed by how conscientiously Alex has worked and how committed to his education he has been. He rightly deserves to be recognised as one of my English stars!
Callum McKeon (Y12)
New at Muntham House School this school year for EEU pupils is the ‘AS Level in English Language’, which Callum and I embarked upon in September 2019. Since lockdown began, we have continued our studying through email and twice-weekly Zoom lessons, in working together and through independent study. Callum has delighted me with his dedication to this new, higher level of learning. We have explored exam questions, the exam syllabus and mark schemes. We have made it through the first of three sections of study – Language Levels – which deals with how language is formed: from individual units of sound to full-blown discourse. Callum has chosen ‘Language and Power’ and ‘Language and Gender’ as individual areas of study, and we have just embarked upon the second section of the course which covers analysis of written and spoken discourse – it’s intense! Callum has completed every piece of work set and showed great resilience when we have had to re-start a task because an aspect in the question has been misunderstood or incorrectly interpreted. Between sessions, I have set Callum an AS Level task which he has completed, and he has been happy to review my work too, discussing in greater depth the things we have learned or missed. It’s also been great to see how much he has retained from GCSE English, and how he has used this in his current study.
I am so very proud of these three young men who have shown what true Muntham spirit is about and have carried the Muntham ethos of working hard and achieving well.
Year 11 – Speaking and Listening success!
As you are aware, on Wednesday 18th March, the media informed Year 11 pupils across the country that their GCSE exams would no longer take place. For some this was a devastating blow and for some, a relief, but for all it caused confusion and disbelief. During the week of the announcement, the Year 11s at Muntham House School had been preparing to take their Speaking and Listening exam which forms part of the final English Language GCSE grade. Indeed, we had scheduled the exam for the next day: Thursday 19th March. Having heard the announcement and understood what it all meant, the Year 11 pupils came into school on 19th March elated yet a little disheartened and shell-shocked. Despite this, all of them agreed that the Speaking and Listening exam which we had planned to do that day should still go ahead – our Year 11s were prepared and ready to give their speeches and presentations. It seemed like, in that moment, nothing could dampen their desire to succeed. These wonderful young men did not allow themselves to be held back, but instead proved themselves to be eloquent, intelligent individuals who in a moment of adversity still decided to press on and succeed. I was so proud to be their teacher, and to be able to be one of a minority of schools that managed to submit the Speaking and Listening part of the GCSE.
Well done to our super Year 11 pupils.
The year 8 tutor group were the clear winners in our build a business competition. Here all tutor groups were provided with £20 as a business loan to create their own business ideas. Everything which they then make after returning this business loan is their profit to keep. Young ultrapreneur Aaron Castle displays the winning product. The Tack Toe Tactile Toys is a bag of fidgets toys to help pupils remain concentrated in class or use when needed. Bags are on sale at £4 each and consist of a Stress Cube, Fidget Spinner, Bubbles, Magic Putty, and a Sensory Scarf.
Aaron and his group have already made £80 so far and were this years clear winners with this innovative idea. Orders are being taken via emailing Aaron.
Four members of the 4a Tutor Group have been welcomed into school for two days a week to have the opportunity to work with their core subject teachers so that they can maintain their progression during lockdown. Miss Harris has the pleasure of teaching Jack S, Taylor K, Roman C and Tyler B for their science lessons. We have covered topics such as 'Forms of energy', 'Energy efficiency and practice with formulaic questions', 'Early earth, formation and atmosphere' and 'the structure of the Earth'. We will be moving onto 'plate tectonics and the theory of Pangea'. All boys have been very keen to learn and have worked very well. They have completed all written work to a good standard and have shown interest in every lesson. Roman and Tyler have been really confident and showed good knowledge. Jack and Taylor are now much more willing and keen to complete their work and have been asking relevant questions during the lesson. They have all, also been well humoured and relaxed and the lessons have flown by too quickly for my liking as they are so productive but also enjoyable.
Remote teaching of Maths can be very challenging. We all remember the days of sitting at school or at home trying to solve equations or add fractions and our success being largely dependent on the teacher's interaction with us. So my initial concern was 'How do I provide the support and feedback needed for our pupils without actually being there?'; enter MyMaths. For those who have engaged with the website, it has been a more than capable substitution for actual lessons. It provides real-time feedback, online lessons and collects important data for progress monitoring. I can keep in touch with the students through its messaging functionality and provide videos on there also. MyMaths is one of the most widely used maths programmes amongst mainstream schools and this is because all of the content is clearly matched to the national curricla for KeyStages 2-4.
The boys at MHS have engaged with MyMaths brilliantly with approximately 23 pupils having completed over 200 separate (a conservative estimate as some pupils were completing 3-4 tasks a week) pieces of work. I can use this data to look at levels of attainment but more importantly to predict gaps that may have formed during lockdown.
In Literature the Year 10s have been working hard to revise Macbeth by using three different pieces of software. All their lessons are now stored on Class Notebook (through Office 365) which they can access any time as they would their emails. Every lesson is signposted with the intention of the learning and useful links are put on to enrich their learning. The English Department has recently signed up to Digital Theatre Plus, so now the Year 10s can watch Macbeth whenever they want, as well as access behind the scenes interviews and critical comparison essays. In addition to this Class Notebook also stores the independent learning that the boys can complete via MyOn. At the moment the Year 10s have read the graphic novel to remind them of the plot and characters in the play and are now moving on to the short story ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ by Edgar Allan Poe. This means they are engaging in the Accelerated Reading Programme as well as adding to their knowledge of other authors that use dramatic devices to build tension within a story.
It’s been fantastic to have the Year 10s back and I’m so impressed how well they are doing with this very new way of learning – good work boys
All the pupils who have been in school also fully understand the importance of sanitising their work area at key times and are doing an excellent job with this.
Since the lockdown in March pupils at Muntham House School have been accessing the MHS VLE Portal which was set up by IT Support, to continue with their studying.
KS3 Graphic Design pupils have continued to work on their current project "Sneakers Design", where they have been looking at designing sports shoe trainers using colour, images and type.
Throughout this period, pupils have worked really hard and created some beautiful looking designs using their creative ability and flair. Please see some of their designs below.
INFORMATION PAGES ON ARTISTS & DESIGNERS
KS4 student Jack S who is currently studying a BTEC Tech Award In Art & Design Practice, has excelled producing creative, informative work as part of his Comp 1. His task was to research, collate and design "Information Pages" on Artists & Designers of his choice.
The first apples are here at the Muntham House School Orchard. Our Infant and Junior pupils have planted one of the trees each. They will be responsible for looking after their tree and watching it grow big and strong, as they will as they move through the school.
Our school Chef Mr Sweet will be using all of the apples in the school Kitchen.
Some of the pupils who have been in school during the past term have had time to enjoy going out for long bike rides with different members of staff. Not only have they been getting lots of needed exercise, on one ride they completed over 25 miles down the South Downs Link. Amazing effort from both the pupils and staff.
Not only do the pupils love getting out on the bikes to ride, they also love to push themselves by trying out new stunts and tricks. All safe and monitored of course.
FIRST STAGE PASSED WITH FLYING COLOURS!
Muntham House School is committed to providing all students with quality careers information, advice and guidance, and to ensuring that they leave the school ready for the world of work.
To this end, we made a commitment earlier this year to gain the nationally recognised Quality in Careers Standard award and we are pleased to announce that the school has passed the first of three stages!
This is the feedback received from the awarding body:
Your stage Commitment has been assessed.
It was a pleasure to assess this Commitment Stage and an excellent example of how The Muntham House School are committed to the accreditation of the Quality in Careers Standard Award. Evidence is clear and concise and exactly meets the essential criteria. The Muntham House School are fully meeting the Commitment Stage and will successfully progress to the final stage of the Award
The second stage is already underway and will be completed by the end of term. We are hopeful that we will receive similar positive feedback and are very grateful to the staff team for their support in this endeavour.
Over the period of lock down, Joe Tysoe from 3B has been working hard creating new music. Joe participated in creating his own home made drum sets using only objects found in his home and has also been playing his recorder at home. Joe has also been writing new music on his keyboard.
His music teacher Mrs Purdy has been exceptionally proud of all his hard work.
We hope to see Joe back on the stage performing again upon our return.
Well done Joe!
Ending the school year with a treasure chest or three?
After a difficult year full of change, anxiety and home schooling. It seemed only right that the pupils of Muntham House School ended the year in style.
A treasure hunt was put together by a member of staff Mel Sherbourne.
This comprised of clues hidden all across the school site that the pupils solved to lead them to the next clue and finally to the treasure at the end. The treasure (sweets, toys, chocolate and games) all hidden within a wooden box was buried in the ground.
The entire school took part in the hunt, all split into 3 groups and working together as teams, to win their prizes at the end. Even the staff got involved and everybody had an amazing time!
Well done Miss Sherbourne for all your hard work putting this together.
Treasure was found!!
This month saw one of our ex-pupils start a new job as a Radiographer at the East Surrey Hospital.
Jamie Foster spent a long time at Muntham House School as a boarding pupil and left to look after his Father.
Jamie has kept in touch with the school and obtained his personal reference from us. Jamie is enjoying his new job and wants to eventually become a fully qualified nurse. When talking to Jamie he is using lots of the communication & social skills that he picked up at Muntham House School.
Jamie wanted to thank all staff and in particular, Mr Van der Watt, and sends his best wishes to staff & pupils.
So our resident Primary Duck, Karen, has had a very busy lockdown period! She is coming to the end of her laying season now with 9 new beautiful healthy little ducklings following her every move. We have been extremely privileged that she allowed us to witness all the stages of the process; from her creating the fully feather lined nest (in one of Mrs Woods planting beds!) to laying her eggs, incubating them as she sat so protectively above them and now to witness the little chicks hatch and emerge from their feather and leaf bed.
The boys were fascinated and stood patiently watching as all 9 ducklings emerged damp and fragile from their shells, an experience I’m sure they won’t forget. The staff were equally as fascinated and captured some beautiful images and videos as you can see from Mrs Jacobs stunning shots and Mrs Woods video below.