From The Study

What a Saturday we had! The Christmas Fair was a splendid occasion, with fantastic products on display, refreshments available all day, and Santa in his Grotto. The power cut towards the end of the afternoon seemed to be managed well, with fairy lights, phones and a few torches helping everyone complete their transactions. It was certainly interesting to draw the raffle in complete darkness – no chance of rigging the results! Thank you to the particular TPA members responsible for the Christmas Fair, and to the Support Staff and Bursar for the practical assistance. Of course, the netball and football matches also took place in the afternoon: mums and dads against the staff respectively. I was delighted that there were no injuries this year, although I know there were many sore muscles just hours later. Well done everyone involved; it is great to have such events and to keep them at the right level of fun and competition. (team photos)

Last Friday we had a special visitor: Steve Brine MP came to meet with the School Council. He has done this before, and I was delighted to hear of the preparations the children had made: each class representative to the School Council asked for questions from their class that they might ask the visiting MP. Mr Brine has been a regular contact through the years, especially helping host our senior pupils at Westminster every Summer Term. With the adjustments to constituency boundaries we will be losing Mr Brine’s automatic attention, as our area becomes part of the Romsey constituency. But I know that he will happily come and visit in the same way in future, even if it is not his #duty’ to do so. For a look at his own Press Release following the visit, and more information about the questions he faced, look here:

This week began with the last group of music exams: Trinity Guildhall Board were on Monday. Results always come in the same day, and we were delighted with them. We have to wait up to another week for the ABRSM results, unfortunately.

Year 1 had an exciting trip to Minstead Study Centre on Monday, engaging in their ‘Winter Warmers Day’ – very appropriate when the temperatures had plummeted! Later on Monday afternoon I met will parents of children in Year 4 and Year 5 to go through the processes for looking at Future Schools. The presentation I used for that talk is linked below.  On Wednesday the first two lessons in the Pre were taken over by the House Christmas Tree Decorating Competition. It is always a wonderful occasion, when all year groups work together by house to decorate a House Christmas Tree. The judging is done by members of staff who are not attached to any house, so included all Matrons, Gap Assistants, Admin Staff etc.

The House Competition in the Prep then could be concluded. This term it has been closer than any previous term, with everything coming down to the last week’s results. In the end this was the result: 1st Wasps 2374,  2nd Hornets 2278, 3rd Mozzies 2160, 4th Bees 2102. In particular my congratulations go to the High Scorers for this term from each year: Amber Ridgeway (Year 3), Matilda Henry (Year 4), Dom Jackson (Year 5), Sophie Kileff (Year 6), Jemima Berry (Year 7) and Grace Thompson (Year 8).

In the remainder of this week, we have welcomed Treehouse Theatre to deliver their pantomime ‘Peter Pan’ to pupils. Thursday saw the Nursery Christmas Play, in the new venue of the Mulberry Pavilion. Friday has started with the Year 1 Christmas Assembly, then smoothly moved on to the Reception Christmas Play, and we will later enjoy the Year 3 Christmas Show. There is a pattern here…

Important information relating to Pre-Tests, Future Schools and a new website

  1. As announced at the recent meeting about Future Schools, we have placed the Year 4 & 5 Future Schools presentation here:
  2. Mr Gibb has put together information about schools that do pre-tests:  Alternatively this file can be found in the on the parent portal under the tab School Information – Documents & Files – School Talks.
  3. Pre-Tests. As is explained in the Powerpoint linked above, some schools set their own pre-tests, but others now use the Common Pre-Test, developed by the Independent Schools Examination Board. Further information about the nature of the Common Pre-Test is reproduced here (from the ISE website). If you have further questions about the testing, please contact Alistair Gibb (

‘What are the Common Pre-Tests?

The Common Pre-Tests are age-standardised tests used to assess pupils' attainment and potential when they are in Year 6 or Year 7, prior to entry to their senior schools. If your son or daughter is offered a place after completing these tests, he or she will normally still be required to sit the Common Entrance examinations in Year 8.

The tests are taken online, usually in the child's current school, and consist of multiple-choice tests in Mathematics, English, Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. Senior schools will inform parents if they use the Common Pre-Tests and will register the candidates. Parents do not need to register their children for the Common Pre-Tests.

Children applying to multiple schools which use the Common Pre-Test will only take the test once per academic year. The set of results obtained will be shared with all schools registering that candidate. In the very unlikely event of a candidate taking the tests more than once within a single academic year, the school(s) will be informed and the first set of results will stand.

The tests take about two-and-a-half hours to complete (English 25 minutes, mathematics 50 minutes, non-verbal reasoning 32 minutes, verbal reasoning 36 minutes) and can be taken together or at separate times, either in the child's own school or at the senior school for which he or she is entered. For overseas candidates, testing centres can be used if prior permission has been granted from the senior school.

No special preparation is needed for the tests and no practice tests are available. Examples and practice questions, where relevant, are provided during the tests so that candidates understand what they have to do. Each question is answered by choosing an answer from a selection shown on the screen. Each question must be answered and candidates cannot go back to previous questions. While taking the tests, candidates are able to track their progress within the test (number of questions answered in relation to overall number of questions). A timer is also displayed to show the amount of time remaining.

The tests are provided by GL Assessment. Parents and pupils who would like some idea of what the tests will look like online can go to the GL Assessment CAT 4 Digital Demo site by clicking on the link below. It demonstrates tests which are set out in a similar way to the ISEB Common Pre-Tests and contains examples of verbal and non-verbal reasoning questions. 11+ Practice Papers, commonly available in book shops, contain similar examples. To see the GL digital demonstration, click here.’

4.   We have recently established a subscription to a website that provides some online practice for Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning. For those children due to take assessments that require these tests, we can give them a user name and they can work either at school or at home on practice tests. The benefits are several: they can focus on one type of test or even of one style of question (say, anagrams rather than codes); they can start a test at one time and leave it to come back another time and in another location; it is compatible with windows and Mac/iPad systems; at school we can monitor their progress and see what areas they are having difficulty with. The website is fairly new, and so there are limited tests on at this stage. But we feel it is worthwhile for those taking tests or having interviews next term to be using the system. We have already logged on almost all relevant pupils. The address of the website is:

Although we are heading inexorably to the final week of term, there is plenty on the calendar and much to do. We are all hoping that the energy of the children (and teachers) can be maintained so as to enjoy every element of the closing of this long term.

      Matron's Notes
        General Information

        25/11   To: Year 8 Parents:  Re: Trip to Rockley;  Fm: Mrs Clarkson

        28/11   To:  Year 3 Parents: Re: Trip to Nuffield Theatre; Fm: Mrs Wild

        Dr Bailey's Enigma

        Answers to last week’s Enigma:

        The third and fifth letters of each of the first set of words are consecutive, so VOLUME is the right answer.

        The letters in each person's name have numerical values A-Z=1-26.

        The third letter of each name is equal to each person's age so Yvonne is 15. So: Emma 28, Vernon 21, Alex 14, Sue 7, Angela 6, Jenny 4, Mike 2.

        This week's Enigma:

        This week’s Enigma has a Christmas theme. Can you solve the following puzzle clues for Christmas carols/songs?

        1. Happiness to the Global Ecosystem

        2. Small male percussionist

        3. I am experiencing nocturnal visions of a colourless holiday

        4. Festoon the corridors

        5. A non-summer fairytale area

        6. Oh holiday conifer

        7. Ten plus two twenty-four hour periods of holiday festivity

        8. Hey tiny city in Israel

        9. In a remote location in a barn stall

        Weekly Calendar