Rossall School News – Lent 2021 Week 1

“The sun rises on a new term at Rossall. Whether you are here with us or joining us remotely, we hope that this term will be filled with love, laughter, and learning. Have hope in your hearts and know that we will soon be together once again.”
– Mr Jeremy Quartermain, Headmaster –

From the Headmaster

There was a time when schools tried to develop ‘character’ by insisting upon Spartan conditions. At Rossall, this famously included an outdoor swimming pool, helpfully ‘sheltered by the sea wall’. The pool has long since been demolished as has the alarmingly large school hospital which was situated conveniently close to the poolside. We no longer believe that character is forged in the furnace of extreme physical discomfort. However, until fairly recently, one heard a lot about the importance of ‘teaching resilience’. This has always bothered me because I do not believe that resilience is something that can necessarily be taught and, all too often, it can lead young people to conclude that they should simply ‘get on with it’ and stop complaining.  There are times when this is a good enough strategy but there are times when it is a dismal modus operandi. 

One might demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity but our ability to be courageous is dependent upon many competing factors, not least our observation of the behaviour of others. Now that children face real challenges and have been denied so much, those who talk about resilience and fret about a ‘snowflake’ generation have gone a little quiet. Perhaps that is because in a crisis, children have shown themselves to be more adaptive and resilient than many of us adults. When faced with uncertainty and isolation, they have tended not to be resentful or pessimistic. Rather, they have accepted the temporary limitations upon their lives and resolved to make the very best of circumstances. Never has that been more apparent than during the last few days. Zoom lessons are filled with the happy faces of children who, above all else, want to remain connected. They cherish what they have rather than mourning what they have lost. Their endless positivity and good humour should serve as an inspiration to all of us. 

Young people have suffered a good deal over the past nine months. What might have seemed novel in April 2020 now  constitutes a source of intense frustration. However, there has never been a time when a higher value has been placed upon access to  education. There has never been a time when our teachers are more needed than now. It is a sad reality that many children around the world will not receive the support and encouragement that they deserve during this period.  

Globally, governments have grappled with the logistical challenges posed by the virus and they have coped with varying degrees of success. Schools have had to respond to an ever changing landscape with U-turns, eleventh hour announcements and bewilderingly ambiguous guidance. As school leaders we must safeguard the physical and emotional health of all within our communities whilst ensuring that children continue to receive an outstanding quality of education. Above all else, we need to offer children a sense of stability by ensuring that the routines of their school lives continue where possible. These must not be wasted months and it is our ambition to ensure that no child at Rossall suffers academically due to a physical absence from the classroom. We have a successful formula and you will be aware of just how hard we work to look after our children during these times. However, it says a lot about our teachers that they are already reflecting upon all the lessons that we learned from delivering over thirty thousand online lessons in 2020. The ambition is always to enhance and refine our offering so as to ensure that our children continue to  benefit from lessons that are truly outstanding. Furthermore, this time round, we are increasing the number and variety of co-curricular activities that we will be on offer. Our ambition is for the school to function as normally as possible. 

This time, it feels different. As each day passes, the number of vulnerable people protected from this virus grows. It is hoped that by the middle of February, all vulnerable people within the UK will have received a vaccine. That is a gamechanger and as well as protecting the vulnerable it will also enable all of our children to enjoy a happier future. 
Wishing everyone a happy New Year. We might have got off to a bumpy start but we are incredibly well prepared to support our children during this time. We are committed to making this an excellent year for our children and there will be many moments of joy and achievements to celebrate in the months ahead. 

All best wishes,

Mr Jeremy Quartermain
Headmaster of Rossall School

Message from the Junior Headmaster

Dear Parents,

Yesterday I saw a tweet that read, “After my 7 day free trial of 2021, I would like to cancel my subscription”. This made me smile and contemplate the start to this year. After the trials and tribulations faced by us during 2020, there was a real sense of optimism towards the end of the Michaelmas term; with the roll out of the vaccine our thoughts began to turn towards a return to some sort of normality. Whilst I still hold that same optimism, a national lockdown and return to remote learning, although needed, was not what any of us wanted. That said, the start to this term has been simply outstanding. Pupils are online in Zoom lessons on at least three occasions every day. Our key worker provision is operating seamlessly. The children are happy to be with their teachers and friends, be it remotely or in person. This is the reason why I hold such optimism for the future. The Rossall community continues to shine – but more than that – we are excelling, despite everything.

You will have received our curriculum maps for the term, highlighting the core subject provision. These remain the same despite our move to remote learning. I have been looking in on some of the lessons and know that the pupils are making super progress in their lessons already! Reception are working out who their intruder, the Gingerbread Man is, why he broke into the classroom, and are designing posters to catch him! Similarly, we have new book starters across all year groups to begin our English work for the half term.

My sincere thanks to the staff for the adaptability they have shown to the new and enhanced remote learning offering. And also to you as parents, many of whom have written to me and the teachers to comment so positively on the lesson content and interactivity of the sessions. Finally to the children. They have been superb in both their attitude and resilience to yet another lockdown. They really are true heroes. Given all that is happening in the world around them, the uncertainty, the news and conversations they hear, and the huge changes they have faced to their normal lives, we should never underestimate how fantastically well they adapt and thrive.
Keep safe and stay well.

Mr Turner
Headmaster of Rossall Junior School

As always, we welcome your feedback and we are delighted to have received so many messages of thanks from parents for the online learning provision provided across the whole School.

In the Junior School, the pupils have face to face online lessons on at least three occasions every day. Here is a snippet of some of the feedback teachers have received.

“I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for responding so fantastically to the new online teaching approach. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is! It’s working perfectly and that stress of homeschooling during lockdown 1.0 is a distant memory. My daughter is really benefiting from seeing her teachers and friends so regularly. Thank you for all of the time and effort you’ve put into this. It’s really important that you know what a difference it has made.”
Parent – Year 1 pupil

“All set up and ready to go!”
Parent – Year 1 pupil

“The remote learning is 200 times better than my children’s previous school and I can only say thank you for all the hard work you are clearly putting in. It’s so much easier for them this time, they are so much more engaged and really seem to be learning this time! “
Parent – Year 3 pupil

What a great start back, I am so impressed at the level of interaction and how ‘hands-off’ this week has been. Both my husband and I can work from the office and home, what has made such a difference is the ‘hands-off’ element this time around.
Really impressive work from the Year 5 teachers. It means I have the confidence to leave my son to it and he gets a lot of the social element he so sadly lacked last lockdown. Thank you.”

Parent – Year 5 pupil

“I would just like to say that the online teaching provision that you are delivering has blown us away! Coming from a school where my son only actually saw his teachers face to face on 3 occasions for 10 minutes (in the whole 3 month period) we are seriously impressed with how Rossall have approached the whole situation. So just wanted to say a personal thank you, as it’s clear just how much work you are undertaking. My son is a very happy and settled little boy.”
Parent – Year 6 pupil

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you for making the first day of remote learning such a success. My daughter can’t wait for tomorrow and from a working parents point of view, it was fantastic to have her engage in “proper” learning. I think you could definitely give Joe Wicks a run for his money with the circuits session!
I know how much hard work and time has gone into all the preparations and they are very much appreciated so thank you.” 

Parent – Year 6 pupil

“Just wanted to say thank you for the amazing support school is providing.
The way classes are being delivered is exceptional and gives us hope of being able to also work.”

Parent – Year 6 pupil
For the first time in its 177 year history, Rossall stayed open for Christmas. Nearly 30 children remained at Rossall and enjoyed 7 days in the beautiful Lake District over the Christmas week.
Pupils and staff stayed at the YMCA Stoller building, a purpose-built modern ‘house’ that hosted a film room, games room, music centre, and family-style dining room, kitchen and study/quiet room. This communal area with its large bay window, overlooking Windermere, created the perfect spot for students and staff to gather and watch the sun rise and fall over the Lake.
It was a thoroughly festive week! Living areas were filled with Christmas trees and decorations, pupils enjoyed walks in the snow, toasting marshmallows on the fire pit, and welcoming a present laden Father Christmas on Christmas Eve, who also read the famous story “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.
Other activities included archery, a low-rope assault course, climbing wall and cookery lessons (making a special Montenegrin bread – Pogaca, was a highlight)
International foods were served throughout the week and on Christmas Day the pupils thoroughly enjoyed a traditional turkey dinner complete with all the trimmings. There was a very special moment when the pupils and staff assembled to enjoy Christmas Dinner – all the pupils decided to wear their personalised Rossall Christmas Crew 2020 red hoodies which they had been given as presents earlier in the day (along with some special stockings with their initials on filled with chocolates and sweets), the sea of red around the ‘Rossall family’ table was amazing.
A big thank you must go to Mrs Lucy Branwell and her husband Nick, Mrs Katie Lee, Steve Scott and Monica Reis (from Stoller) and for the YMCA Stoller activity staff and staff who helped make this week possible. A true once in a lifetime experience for all.

Happy New Year and what a frosty start we are having so far.

The children were so excited to be back and to see their friends which were encouraging to see. The conversation about what they had received from Father Christmas, and what they had to leave for Father Christmas was great to listen to when they were talking between themselves. My daily after-dinner calls with the man himself really worked as they seemed to get what they asked for!

The frosty mornings inspired us to read the story, Jack Frost, by Kazuno Kohara. A story about a boy and his new friend Jack Frost. Some of the children told us they have seen Jack frost on their cars in the morning and on the paths outside their house. We have investigated the frost around our setting which has created the most magical landscapes each morning across the open fields. The children enjoyed walking across the fields looking at their footprints that were left behind in the frost. They are convinced that ‘Frosty’ lives by the hill and the marks already left in the frost must have been Jack Frost who was up early in the morning.

We have used wintry colour materials to create transient art pictures, mixed ice with cornflour to see what happens and learnt new words such as ‘dissolve’ during this process. 

We have welcomed some new friends to nursery this week so some of the older children have been given the responsibility to help them around the nursery and help them settle in.

The babies have enjoyed many sensory activities this week including painting with yoghurt, playdough and slime. All our sensory is edible just in case someone does decide to eat it so they will not come to any harm. The babies have also enjoyed walking across the frosty grass, trying to collect in their hands and cannot quite understand where it disappears to. 

We would like to thank you again for the cards, kind messages and gifts we received at Christmas they are very much appreciated.

Did you manage to solve Mr Sharpe’s puzzle?

Alex’s Occasionally Christmassy Tie and Jumper Shop

Alex recently bought Awkward Audrey’s Illogically Priced Suit Shop and renamed it. The shop now sells only four types of clothing.

In order to boost sales in the festive season Alex puts out an advert which claims:

“Over half of our stock is Christmas-Themed!”

The ratio of Jumpers to Ties is 3:7

The ratio of Christmas Jumpers to Asymmetric Shawl Collar Jumpers is 4:5

The ratio of Christmas Ties to White Ties is 4:3

Is the claim in the advert true?

This is a very typical GCSE maths question. If we use J for Jumper and T for Tie which suggests CJ and AJ for the two types of jumper and CT and WT for the two types of Tie, we have: 

J:T is 3:7
and in the first part of this ratio (the “3”) we have:
CJ:AJ is 4:5
in the second part of this ratio (the “7”) we have:
CT:WT is 4:3

The two types of tie work well here as 4 + 3 = 7 so we can write:

J:CT:WT is 3: 4:3
but the ratios of the two types of Tie don’t add to 3, but they do add to 9.

It is important to remember that ratios can be simplified and indeed made less simple: 

 J:CT:WT is 3: 4:3 
can also be written (by multiplying by 3) as 9:12:9.

Now we can write the full ratio of CJ:AJ: CT:WT as 4: 5:12:9.

So the question wanted to know if over half of the stock was Christmas-Themed so we need the fraction of Christmas-Themed stock as a fraction of the whole stock.

So CJ + CT = 16 and  CJ + AJ + CT + WT = 30

This gives us 16/30 which is indeed more than half of the total stock!


Dave’s Christmas Regret

Dave spent far too much over the Christmas period and feels a little sad about it all. He asked his boss for a payrise and, much to his surprise, is given one.

He then earns 10% more than he did before Christmas.

His bosses then changed their minds and reduce his pay so he only earns 90% of his new wage.

Does he still earn more than he did before Christmas?