Headmaster’s Exeat Letter – 21st September 2018

Dear Parent,

On the first Sunday of the autumn term each year we hold a reunion for Packwood leavers of five years ago. There is always a splendid turnout, plenty of keen, enthusiastic eighteen year olds coming back to the school just before they are about to embark on university courses, gap years or entering the workplace. This year was no exception as we hosted tours and lunch for over thirty people. What really struck me on this occasion was the camaraderie amongst the group and the strength of friendship. Indeed, ten of them, had just been away on a short holiday to Prague together. This all reflects the efforts put into pastoral care, character education and the benefits of working and living together as a community at Packwood.

Tatler Schools Guide 2019

Packwood has once again been featured in the latest prestigious Tatler Schools guide for 2019. Amongst other areas they commented that “The lofty Year 8s… bagged 28 scholarships to a host of impressive senior schools last year. This rural Shropshire co-ed has excellent facilities for a prep and sport is a particular strength: rugby for the boys, lacrosse for the girls, cricket for both (with mixed senior teams – go, girls). Half of pupils board, with more than a third staying in school on Sundays. ‘I left with a big smile on my face,’ says our informer. Lucky things, they’re in a very good place”. We were delighted to receive such a rave review!

Geography Photograph Competition – Final Call for Entries

Miss Wilkinson reports that the quality of photography this year has again been tremendous. There’s just time for any last minute entries with the closing deadline being Saturday 29th September. As a general reminder, this should be a photograph of a geographical nature that your child took over the summer holidays. Prizes will be given for winning pictures. Please email photographs to Miss Wilkinson at gw@packwood.salop.sch.uk or hand in a hard copy.

Packwood Acorns

The first couple of weeks have flown by in the Acorns. We welcomed Miss Pearce, who is covering Mrs Triance’s maternity leave this year, along with all the new children in Reception. The new topic, ‘The Big Blue’, is proving to be most enjoyable and the children have been busy at work. They have been writing their names in sand, finding out the names of the world’s oceans and learning about sea pollution. All of this alongside their regular maths, phonics and literacy lessons, not forgetting music, PE, ICT and swimming.

New Forest School – Acorns Wood

Last Saturday saw the opening of the new Forest School site. Mrs Rigby cut the ribbon into Acorns Woods and over 40 children and parents came to enjoy a morning of fun activities. They made leaf crowns and playdough hedgehogs, explored our new digging pit, and guided each other along ropes and around trees blindfolded to test out teamwork. The morning finished with toasting marshmallows on the fire, always a favourite with the children and on this occasion with the dads as well.

Sport

The Packwood girls have started the Lacrosse season very well including a narrow 4-3 loss for the U12/11 girls against Shrewsbury School U14 team. We have been delighted to welcome Fenella Nicholas officially to our sports department staff as the new girls lacrosse coach. As well as coaching the girls, she will be re-starting parents lacrosse on Tuesday afternoons 4.50 – 5.50pm beginning on Tuesday, 25th September. Initially it will take place on the lax pitch, then on the astroturf after half term. Beginners are most welcome and no equipment is required. Please contact Fenella if you would like to take part fn@packwood.salop.sch.uk.

The U13 6-a-side football teams performed well in the Shrewsbury Tournament on the second weekend of term. The 1st VI reached the quarter final of the main competition after coming second in the group with wins against Birchfield and Yarlet. The 1st XI football side had an excellent first game against Yarlet with a 4-1 win last week as well. The U11A, U11B and U9 away football fixtures against Rydal last Saturday were a highlight with encouraging wins for all teams and there were plenty of goals scored in this week’s fixtures against Old Hall/Wrekin College.

The U11 girls attended the Malvern Hockey Festival last weekend. It was an excellent day with a morning of coaching from Malvern staff then a festival of matches in the afternoon.

Character Education

Mr Chambers’ weekly assemblies this year will centre on the value of ‘character education’. Main schools pupils have been presented with a list of twenty virtues which underpin a full, prep school education, including courage, integrity, humility or manners. We intend to discuss these virtues further with pupils, staff and parents throughout the year in an effort to define more clearly what makes a Packwood education so special.

Forthcoming events

May I bring to your attention the following events coming up soon:

Wednesday 26th
September
Year 6 Greek morning
Scholarship Club: Copper to Copernicum, Ray Dexter, Head of Chemistry at Repton School
Thursday 27th
September
Scholastic Book fair begins
Year 7 Roman morning
Friday 28th
September
First assessments
Saturday 29th
September
Parents’ Breakfast (see below)
Moreton Hall U11 & U13 Lacrosse Tournaments
NSEA Riding Qualifier at South View
Sunday 30th
September
Church Service 9.30am (Girls’ Choir)*
Shrewsbury School sports and all-rounder scholarships begin
Tuesday 2nd
October
Old Hall County Prep School Swimming Gala
Packwood Acorns ‘Settling In’ Parent Meetings
Packwood Acorns Sports Afternoon
Wednesday 3rd
October
1st XI football at St. Anselm’s Festival
Cognitive Ability Tests – Year 4
Scholarship Club: The Power of Music, Duncan Boutwood
Thursday 4th
October
Malvern College Arts Day
Year 6 Trip to Bosworth Castle
Friday 5th
October
Childnet International Internet Safety Talks: Children and Parents
The Border Shield U11 Rugby Tournament
Second Exeat begins 3.30pm

* This is a Harvest Festival service. Donations will go to the Oswestry Foodbank who are desperately in need of tinned pasta, pasta sauces, tinned carrots or fruit, rice pudding, custard, jam, lemon curd, honey, peanut butter, shampoo, shower gel, deodorant and toilet rolls.

Please drop off any donations at the school office or bring them on the day to the Church Service.

*** SAVE THE DATE ***
Packwood’s new Headmaster from April 2019, Rob Fox, will be visiting the school for three days from Sunday 14th – Tuesday 16th October. He will be attending the boarders’ Church Service on Sunday and then refreshments back at school. This would be a great opportunity for you to meet him. We are working on the full programme for the three days and hope to have another slot on Monday or Tuesday when he can again meet parents.

For full details of sports fixtures please consult the live calendar on the website.

Parents’ Breakfast

I expect many of you have heard of the delicious breakfasts served at Packwood for the boarders. So I thought it was about time you had an opportunity to sample one for yourself. On Saturday 29th September we will be hosting our first parents’ breakfast. This will be for parents of children in Years 3 & 4 (other year groups will be invited during the course of the year). If you are a parent of a child in one of these year groups please contact the office to reserve your space (pso@packwood.salop.sch.uk). Please drop off your child at 8.00am promptly and then make your way through to the Dining Room. Places are on a first come, first served basis so please book in early.

Scholastic Book Fair

This term’s Book Fair will run from 27th September to 4th October. Over the course of the week all the children will have the chance to choose one or two books they would like to buy with their English teacher’s guidance. The cost of the books will be added to your school bill. There will be a wide variety of titles to suit all age ranges including fiction, reference books, annuals, graphic novels and story books. Children may take books directly from the Book Fair if there is a sufficient number of copies, otherwise extra copies will be ordered with the delivery usually arriving within a few days. If you do not wish your child to buy books, or if you have any questions please contact Cath Hammond on ceh@packwood.salop.sch.uk.

Day children – Early Drop off/Late Pick-Up

More and more schools talk about the wrap-around care they provide by opening their doors slightly early in the morning or keeping them open later in the evenings. As a school that offers full boarding, staff at Packwood have always worked round the clock caring for children at all hours of the day. If you are the parent of a day child and occasionally need to drop your child off early, they can be booked into breakfast which starts at 7.40am for a small charge of £2. Likewise they can stay for supper, for the same charge, if a late pick-up is required. Please contact the office if you need to make use of this facility at any time.

Transport

As a school we are continuously looking to improve our operations, especially when it comes to the safety of the children. In this regard, may I firstly remind you that the speed limit on school grounds is 10mph. Secondly, with regard to transport for the children on school minibuses or coaches, it is extremely important that we know exactly which children are on which bus/coach at all times. Therefore if you wish to arrange a collection of your child from a drop off point on the way back to Packwood e.g. Dobbies, this must be organised before the children leave Packwood.

Charity

Every year the children at Packwood support a good number of different charities. This Autumn term the girls of Park House are embarking on a charity challenge, climbing 29,029ft to the summit of Mount Everest. This is being done in house, using the Park House staircase and the 3,871 flights are to be completed before the end of term. The girls began on Monday 10th September and are sharing the load, kitting up and working together. We are raising money for SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association), a super organisation providing welfare and support for those serving in the armed forces, their families and veterans. If you can, please visit our justgiving page, your support for our charity would be greatly appreciated. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/parkhouseclimb.

Bits & Bobs

When you take your child home from school, please make sure you sign them out with the duty staff in the theatre foyer.

We were delighted to welcome an additional 22 young boarders (11 boys and 11 girls) on Tuesday evening this week for a Boarding Experience. Further events like this for different year groups will be taking place later in the year.

I hope those of you who attended this afternoon’s session on the protocols and rules around concussion found it useful.

All of the Year 8 children have had a fantastico Humanities trip to Italy and I look forward to welcoming them home later this evening.

I now sit on the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) and Independent Schools Council (ISC) Finance Committees which both meet three times/year. Please be aware that I am away at the IAPS Headmasters’ Conference between Wednesday 26th – Friday 28th September.

Clive Smith-Langridge

Headmaster