Reports, Christmas Celebration, Final Assembly, Academic Achievement & Effort Awards, Work Points, Inter-House Distance Challenge, Cock House, Back to School Booklet, Covid Protocols, Self Declaration Form, Farewells, New Staff, Uniform & Kit List, Calendar & Inter House Fixtures, TBC, Chapel, Dates, The Digital Hub, New Solar Heating for the Pool, The Curriculum, Start of Term Thank you
I am writing with a round up of the term we have just completed and with plans, ideas and detail for the term ahead.
I know we are all busy with mounting ‘to do’ lists especially with Christmas just a week away. However, it is important you read this letter and open the attachments (where it says please click) to inform yourself of what lies ahead. Time spent now steadily reading through the various headings and their detail may well save you much time later as you try to plan your lives and prepare for the coming months - even if you just remember where the information might lie for a later date!
By the time this Letter, No 12, reaches you the reports for your children should have arrived in your inbox. I hope you feel comfortable with the feedback and comments from the teachers and without a doubt each one of our children need much praise for finding a way to cope and manage during these challenging times.
The term drew to a close with a Christmas Celebration which was streamed ‘live’ to us all on YouTube on Thursday evening. The amount of work and effort from children, parents and teachers was phenomenal and there could be no better example of teamwork, even with us all separated and with such remoteness.
Our final assembly then took place on Friday morning. There was much excitement and as always it slightly takes my breath away to see about 127 screens all tuned in, to join together for our assemblies and in this case to mark the end of term. During our Final Assembly we said ‘Farewell’ to a few of our pupils, off to start the next chapter of their lives. We said goodbye to Ollie and Halina Saunders who are off to Australia, Talumba and Tatenda Banda who are relocating to Malawi, Ian Glenn and Taku Masora who are off to St Andrew’s Prep School to be closer to their elder siblings at the main schools and Yonah Pollman who is starting his time at Hilton College in January. Alex Mouritzen is also saying good bye this term. We wish all our leavers the very best in the future and much happiness and good fortune with the many challenges that lie ahead. We sent each leaver a Pembrokian tie and the two scrolls - ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling and ‘Desiderata’ by Max Erhman. Hopefully their years at Pembroke House will serve them well as they set forth on the next chapter of their lives with very fond memories of their time with us.
We also said goodbye to Charlie Maidment who is leaving us to return to his family farm in the UK.
Effort & Attainment Awards
As always it was lovely to applaud those who have fared so well and worked very hard this term. Please scroll down to the final pages to see the list of awards. (Appendix I)
We also announced those children who came in the top three for the house point competition in each year group. (Appendix II)
Finally, Mr Hudson drew our attention to the many super performances from the Distance Challenge (Appendix III)
Mr Aung then gave us the run down of the present places for the Houses in the Cock House Competition. Very well done to Turners who are in the lead at the moment! (Appendix IV)
As I have mentioned before we felt that we should send out some chocolate bars to reward those children who have tried so hard and performed so well this term. Accordingly, the envelopes have been packed and a congratulatory card written for each child mentioned below. If your child was mentioned in the final assembly their name should appear below and some chocolate should appear, as if by magic, with Wells Fargo or G4S. Well done to all our children for their hard work and determination, and for the top places do enjoy your treat when it arrives!
Back to School
I know many of you will be feeling a little unsure of how school might play out when we come to January. There will be concerns about the pandemic and exactly how we will manage and arrange matters as a school and the protocols which will be in place. Please do click on the link below and read the booklet with your child to ensure you feel comfortable and informed about how life will play out in the first few weeks of school.
Twice Daily Temperature Checks
One of our priorities will be taking everyone’s temperature twice a day. These checks will be at the gate and in the Houses. Anyone with a temperature will not be able to enter the school and a child with a temperature will be gently taken off to Purity and her team for assessment. All staff will also have their temperature checked twice a day.
We will all wear masks as much as possible, although not for sport.
There will be hand washing before entering a new school area for example a classroom or the dining room. Handwashing stations have been made and will be positioned around the school to help with this aspect of keeping everyone healthy.
Cleaning & Sanitising
The school cleaners will wipe down each classroom (including door handles and desks) when the children leave. The reinforced cleaning regime will also include the dining room and the washrooms where a regular and rigorous schedule will be in place to sanitise these areas.
Classroom Lay Out
All children have their own desk to encourage social distancing and make it very easy during lesson time. The classrooms actually look very smart laid out in this way and the children may actually like the extra space they all have. Furthermore, children will remain in their classrooms and teachers will move to them rather than the usual arrangement where children relocate to subject classrooms for their lessons.
Assemblies & Gatherings
To begin with we will hold all assemblies and school gatherings outside in front of the Arab Doors of the main school building. The children will distance by spreading out their arms, fist to fist, to ensure a full metre between them all.
We are very lucky in Gilgil to have such a beautiful climate and truly lovely grounds. Knowing it is safer outside in relation to the spread of the virus we will do all we can to make the most of this.
It is very important at this time that we are all mindful of our health and that of our family and friends. We all have very different lives but as a school community we rely on each other and we must make sure that we do all we can to keep our school community healthy and look after each other. All parents and visitors will be asked to complete and sign a document which will be a self declaration that there has been no contact with anyone who is sick or who has been in close contact with someone with Covid for at least 14 days. It is extremely important that you think carefully about the two weeks prior to coming back to school. Who you will see and where you will go, so that come January 11th you feel confident your family is as healthy as it could possibly be.
Teaching & Support Staff
This responsibility will also be explained to all our teachers and support staff at school. There is not a soul whose life has not been affected during this very stressful time and I know that if we all contemplate the time ahead and take time to consider our role in keeping everyone safe that we can manage this and we will find a way to keep safe and healthy through the months ahead.
Uniform & Kit List
Please do click on this list below to open up the uniform & kit list. This has all sorts of useful information including everything from masks to duvets and water bottles. Please do get in touch with Haria Uniforms or Mandy Hellings or Katie Keith at The Clothing Company East Africa to arrange for any uniform requirements you may have. This is the most wonderful shop and service and Mandy and Katie will make sure everything is just waiting at school, all ready and named ready for your arrival next term.
Mandy Hellings 0706 589038
Katie Keith 0727 731241
‘Naming’ is something that lies in wait to ambush the novice parent. To many, naming seems somewhat superfluous (and certainly did to me all those years ago!) since it is quite obvious that certain items can belong only to your child. However, everyone needs to know which items belong to who, so that they can be returned without the necessity of recognition by the owner! This makes matters quick, easy and very straightforward and avoids piles of lost property and unnecessary extra expense for all our families. Please trust us and name everything you can, either with name tapes or indelible ink or an engraver. I remember our children being most annoyed as I got into my naming zone and marked one shoe ‘Boyd’ and the other ‘Moss’ but I do not believe we ever lost our shoes!
Isolation & Quarantine
Unlike our plans for opening last term, in the New Year we will undertake to look after all our children should they become sick. To this end the Head’s Hub will become our isolation centre. We will of course be in touch with you as parents immediately, should we notice your child is not well to liaise and agree on the right way forward and arrange for your child to come home should you so wish. Should you prefer that your child stays at a school then we will make the necessary arrangements and we will also undertake to take the children who are unwell for a Covid test.
Although we would like to welcome children back with their devices we feel that for the coming term computers and tablets should say at home. First of all this will give children a break from their screens and allow them to make the most of their teachers and enjoy their friends around them. Secondly, as yet we have nowhere to store the devices safely and charge them ready for the next day.
Our policy is for those who wish their children to return to school with a phone, to bring a ‘brick’ phone. These are the rather old fashioned mobile phones which can only manage calls and text messages, and do not have any kind of internet capabilities. This is for each child’s wellbeing. These phones allow conversations and messages but avoid the many pitfalls associated with social media and the internet. Such very simple phones are available in Gilgil and if you need any help in purchasing one please do let us know and we can help.
STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics and we are so excited to be in the throes of planning our very own STEAM Centre or as we will call it: The Digital Hub. With the arrival of Mr Haynes we now have the very necessary Head of Digital Learning & Graphics. Chris is supported by a super team with Andrew Nyansikera and Richard Echakan looking after what has become the backbone of the school. To this end we have been given a very generous donation by a long term sponsor. Furthermore, many of our leaving families in Year 8, last July, kindly donated some funds to help boost our efforts to raise money to complete this project. As we have all come to understand, the digital side of life is becoming increasingly important in our modern and rapidly evolving world. The progress made by staff and children alike has been phenomenal and the Digital Hub will build on this and help successfully to support our future, as this side of our modern day life expands and develops in the months and years ahead.
I attach an artist’s impression of the Digital Hub for your consideration. The project will incorporate three learning areas - one for computers and graphics, the other room for dry/clean modelling and finally the third space on the veranda for the rather challenging task of building and empowering the actual models and finished products. There will also be a sizeable area for the secure charging and storage of the children’s devices.
The Digital Hub
An Artist’s Impression By Frannie Simpson
The solar panels for the swimming pool are not working well and we need to address this to give the children warm water in which to swim and train. We are extremely grateful to The Pembroke House Foundation for supporting this project and giving us the funds to rectify matters. We have taken advice from Charlie Frazer, whom many of you know, and we have every confidence that this project will successfully warm the pool for many years to come.
This term we will not be having inter school fixtures. This means we will do all we can to create a stimulating and exciting term of Inter House matches and events at school. Sport will join up with other activities at school which will give pace, spirit and energy to the school weeks and particularly to the weekends. There are a couple of weekends where we will ask you as parents to join us if you can for a bike challenge or a running event with the children and thanks to Rachel Robley we will also have a pony show, in which you as parents may also ride on the Sunday. We have also scheduled our Inter House Athletics Event just before the second Exeat. Please do understand that your support at school will add some very special extra energy and engagement for all concerned and will be much appreciated. All events and activities will be outside with plenty of space, sunshine, warmth and fresh air, to allow us all to remain safe and healthy.
As you will see this is scheduled for the final two nights of term. The play is set outside so we, the audience, will gather outside as well and we all felt this was the best option given our circumstances.
Dates to Remember 2021
Start of term Monday 11th January
1st Exeat Friday 29th January
Open Day & Friday 12th February (Online as well!)
Tutor Parent Meetings
Half Term Saturday 13th February
Inter House Athletics Friday 12th March
2nd Exeat Friday 12th March 1 pm
Easter Games & Wednesday 31st March
Parent Children Hockey Matches
Senior School Play Wednesday 31st March
End of Term Thursday 1st April
To Be Confirmed - TBC
We will of course play everything at school by ear. Should it look as if we need to reduce parents and visitors coming on site we will let you know. Equally if we feel it would be sensible to reduce sporting fixtures amongst the children we will inform you and do so. In short we will be mindful of all concerns and make the necessary adjustments to the calendar, so please do get in touch to check arrangements before making your final pans.
We are very aware that travelling on the roads at the moment is fraught with anxiety due to the levels of congestion. This means that for now we have scheduled the start of term for 11th January - a Monday. We do appreciate many parents are working and this is not ideal but at the same time it does mean you are on the road when the traffic is much less than that we all experience on a Sunday. To help you we will arrange school transport wherever necessary. Please do get in touch as soon as possible with any help you might need.
Exeats & Half term
In line with this thinking the children will return to school after exeats and half term on a Monday by 10 am. This means they are in time for the lessons after break. The other lessons missed that morning will be caught up during the week without taking away other important time and we are pleased to have found a solution to this potential problem allowing complete commitment to our academic programme.
Our Sunday Chapels will now feature on a Friday lunch time unless it is a closed weekend, in which case Chapel will be on a Sunday at 6pm. Once we have found our feet with the ‘new normal’ we will invite parents to join us for the Chapel Service and then be our guests for lunch and then watch games or matches in the afternoon. Chapel will certainly be outside as school begins.
Asking for your Support
As we try and find a way to cope with the added congestion of the roads we have moved our Wednesday games session to Friday to allow for inter school matches, including those at the weekend, to be grouped together in the future. Hopefully this will entail one single journey to Nairobi or St Andrew’s Turi each week. Please understand that there will be a huge temptation for you to take your children out, either before the end of games on Friday or not to bring them back for games on Saturday. Please may I ask for your support now to help us and support this initiative and allow and encourage your children to finish their school commitments and fulfill their duties before whisking them away and off site.
The Curriculum - a Reset
We anticipate that the term ahead will settle down into a calm, sensible and structured rhythm. This will allow the children time to learn and to focus on their academics: the quality of their written work, their real understanding of the work covered and their independent work during prep. In short we hope all the children will have the time and real intent to focus their efforts and do their very best in all their subjects and activities across the board. The new term will also afford the opportunity to savour the challenges of games, art, music and drama along with extras and clubs. At the same time it will give our children the ‘free time’ they love so much, so they can have lots of fun with their friends, playing and exploring the grounds at school. This is the ideal environment to encourage learning and our children’s development on all fronts and we anticipate that much ground will be covered without the usual interruptions of journeys to and from other school commitments.
For our Year 8s the CE exams will once more be pushed back to allow for more learning and time in the classrooms with their teachers. This will help to make up for any progress that might have been missed due to the challenges of online learning and we will have the opportunity to accelerate the children’s academics to reach the best possible level ready for these much anticipated exams.
John Wright joins us next term from Swanbourne House where he is currently joint Head of Ancient and Modern Languages. John will take up the reins as Head of French, and arrives with his wife Lucy and his two children Freddie and Olive. We hope that John will in time restore Latin at school but for now he will kindly Head up the French Department until we make our way through these Covid times and find the wherewithal to establish this very traditional and, for many, much loved subject.
Start of Term
Term starts on Monday 11th January. Seniors should arrive at school at 2.30 pm, Middles at 3.30 pm and Juniors at 4.30 pm. We will have some Covid training and induction that day and lessons will begin on Tuesday 12th January. Should you have children in different groups please just choose which time suits you. Equally some families will be restricted with arrival times due to flights and such like, so please do make arrangements that suit you and kindly just let us know.
The Martlet Cafe
Refreshments along with the office desk will be at the Martlet to allow us all to be outside. Katrina and Terry will be there to look after you and guide you with forms and documents that need to be signed. Takeaway drinks and snacks will be there for those of us who would prefer to keep moving and for others the picnic tables will be there for a welcome rest and a regroup before the next step of the day.
May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your understanding and support during this very difficult time. We have loved trying to teach your children and look after them as month on month have gone by. The uncertainties have been tremendous and I hope we have served as some sort of reliable normality and steadying influence as the weeks have passed. As teachers we could never have dreamed that such a time would come where we would be one side of a screen and your children would be another in their own remote workplace. We have, however, pulled together and somehow found a way. We are all so very excited to see the children back at school once more and be together again. We really do appreciate the huge responsibility that this places on our shoulders and we will do all we can to keep the whole school community safe as we head on through the New Year.
Please do not hesitate for a moment to get in touch with any concerns that you may have. I hope this letter helps a little as you make your plans and think about school and all that lies ahead after Christmas. For now have a wonderful holiday and a very happy Christmas!
We look forward to seeing you next term and please do get in touch with anything we can do to help.
1st Siena Barclay 37 Opies
2nd = Yzeera Sebunya 31 Opies
2nd = Keeley Taylor 31 Hazards
1st = Chiara Craig 31 Turners
1st = Marianne Lee 31 Hazards
3rd Levian Ngumbao 29 Hazards
1st Vesper Murray 43 Opies
2nd Beanie Barclay 41 Opies
3rd Arav Shah 39 Turners
1st Ignatius Miller 51 Fosters
2nd Ian Glenn 46 Hazards
3rd = Teegan Taylor 41 Hazards
3rd = Natalie Yanda 41 Hazards
1st = Abbie Aung 94 Fosters
1st = Adrienne Kamau 94 Opies
3rd Kiara Perrett 92 Turners
1st Harry Elwes 60 Opies
2nd Reya Shah 58 Turners
3rd Justin Furnivall 55 Opies
1st Conor Froome 55 Hazards
2nd Lucy Yiannakis 49 Hazards
3rd Oscar Outram 41 Hazards
1st Kensie Cork 18 Fosters
2nd = Kya Goodchild 17 Fosters
2nd = Alexander Hellings 17 Hazards
Inter-House Distance Challenge
This has been a great competition and thank you to so many families for getting involved. Just to recap, the challenge was to cover as much distance as possible by either walking, running, cycling or swimming. It must be the first time that parents and staff have also been able to contribute to the Cock house competition.
Sadly, I cannot mention everyone but just to mention a few people that have got involved for each house:
In Fosters we have had the Wheelers and the Aungs doing lots of walking, Mrs Boyd-Moss has been out on her bike and Keren Dunn has run lots of km.
In Hazards The Neylan, Yiannakis and Owor families have done lots of exercise and Charlotte Outram has run some impressive distances.
In Opies, Mrs Surtees has led from the front and must have done the most activities out of anyone, and I have had to add so many extra columns and even an extra row for her to add them all in. The Barclay family have also added lots of activities for Opies.
However, Turners have had the top three families all in one house.
So, on the podium for the top families we have:
3rd - Rune – 248 km
2nd - Saunders – 275 km
1st - Mazinga – 565 km
Opies – 146.9 km
Hazards – 160 km
Turners – 195 km
Fosters – 514 km
On to the top children for each age category.
Hazards were our top U7s house on 73.8 km
3rd Conor Froome for Hazards – 32 km
2nd Zia Tundo for Fosters – 40 km
1st Aaron Jensen for Turners – 56 km
Turners were top on 173 km
3rd Laurence Trevor for Fosters – 27.6 km
2nd Billy Tundo for Fosters – 45.5 km
1st Malitlda Mazinga for Turners – 68.38 km
Fosters were the top house for the U11s on 127 km
3rd - Henry Trevor for Fosters on – 21.8 km
2nd - Jordan Rune for Turners – 40.7 km
1st - Jack Foxton for Opies – 43 km
Opies came out on top with - 229 km
3rd - Casper Dingley for Fosters – 38.6 km
2nd - Isobel Foxton for Opies – 40.04 km
1st Archie Seagon for Opies - 55.8 km
4th Place Hazards on 860 km
3rd Place Opies on 920 km
2nd Place Fosters on 1232 km
1st Place Turners on 1739 km