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Life in Lower School

In September we welcomed a new year of Lower Third pupils to Lower School - with the famous ‘Lower School Tree’ on the wall adjacent to reception now resembling a giant redwood with lots of new faces on it! Whilst it may, at first, seem quite daunting, the overarching strength of Lower School is that every individual is recognised as part of our community.

Mr Harvey, Head of Lower School (and as a fan of Roald Dahl) commented that the quotation ‘lukewarm is no good’ has never been truer than when referring to the Lower School’s attitude to new challenges. They arrived in the uncharted territory of their new senior school with shiny shoes, crisp uniform and full of enthusiasm, ready to learn a host of new names, faces and locations!

Since September, the Lower School pupils have been incredibly busy with an array of activities, lessons, musical performances and sporting achievements. St John’s is a warm, welcoming community and both staff and older pupils have played important roles in helping younger pupils settle in, none more so than this year’s Sixth Form mentors who have regularly met their mentees to chat about work or activities, share a joke or a competitive game of Dobble! With good humour, enthusiasm and a willingness to try new things, this most recent cohort of pupils have integrated seamlessly into the busy and fulfilling St John’s life. 

We spoke to the Lower School pupils to find out how they were enjoying life at St John’s.

‘I like St Johns because it’s really easy to make friends and sport here is fun and everyone can be included’ – Sam

‘I love that everyone is different and that is celebrated.’ – Bella

‘I love science and maths at St John’s and it is dog friendly!’ – Will

‘We have so many opportunities to try new activities; I’ve done art, dance and drama which I really like.’ - Orla

Some enjoyable highlights from the first half of the academic year for Lower School have included the trip to PGL Osmington Bay (link) in September, when all Lower Third pupils spent three days in Dorset taking part in a veritable plethora of activities from bush craft, raft-building, beach games and, the most popular, zip wires and getting to know each other and their tutors better. Other adventures range from a trip to the theatre and geography trips, enrichment days, boarding trips and, on the last day of the Autumn Term, a day of ice skating, hot chocolate and games at Hampton Court.

It is a real joy to see the Lower School so full of fun, friendships and, most importantly, a desire to try new things; be that in the classroom, drama studio or on the sports field.  The inaugural Lower School projects have been a tremendous success and Mrs Cole, Mrs Evans and I were very impressed with the standard of entries with the love of learning that shone through in each one. I am also delighted that boarding numbers continue to grow as pupils wish to spend more time with their newfound friends taking every advantage to use the first-class facilities like the new swimming pool!” – Richard Harvey, Head of Lower School

In the classroom and on the sports field, the Lower School pupils have already shown their ability and potential.  Mr Harvey has been pleased with the significant number of bronze and silver certificates already awarded for credits and from the (new) dance studio to the hockey pitches, the sporting successes are mounting up and we eagerly await news of the girls’ progress in the national hockey competitions after half term. Pupils from Lower School have also made a fantastic contribution to the cultural life of school this half term, with a number of impressive performances featuring in lunchtime recitals and other events.  With rehearsals already underway for ‘Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’, we can look forward to more musical and dramatic talent on display later this year. It has been a very positive first half of the academic year and we hope the hard work, happiness and friendship continues throughout each pupil’s time at the School.