registrar@stjohnsschool.net
registrar@stjohnsschool.net
Nurturing every
child to exceed
their potential

Prizegiving Evening

On Friday 18th November 2016 we were delighted to hold our 89th Annual Prize Giving Ceremony in our school’s Sports England Monty Green Sports Hall. Over four hundred invitees attended this prestigious event.

The evening featured a piano solo by F. Smith playing I. Giorni by Einaudi, a delightful performance from St. John’s Choral Verse Group who performed Oh No! Not Tinned Cat Food Again! By Kaye Umansky.  The St. John’s Songbirds performed My Heart Soars and My Boy Lollipop conducted by our Head of Music, Miss Ibbotson.

Below is a transcript of Head Teacher, Mrs Armour’s, thought provoking speech, which highlighted the many successes of the past academic year and gave particular praise to the excellent value added results achieved by St John’s pupils. Pupils were then presented with their awards. Prizes were given for Achievement, Endeavour and Progress, as well as for excellence in specific subjects. Trophies and cups were awarded for Elocution and for Sporting success. The school was also pleased to welcome back former pupils, who left last year, who were presented with their GCSE certificates. Mrs Armour said “Prize Giving is always such a wonderful occasion celebrating the the diligence and efforts of our pupils from the past year, and once again, our Prize Giving evening, enabled us to formally reward and recognise success”.

Mrs Armour’s Speech

Good Evening Ladies, Gentlemen & Pupils,

I would like to welcome you to our 89th Prizegiving for the year 2016.

Over the years I consider myself so lucky and privileged to watch so many beautiful young children arrive at our School, some as young as two years old, grow, develop and blossom into wonderful, strong, highly achieving dependable and decent young adults.  Every day I feel so honoured and grateful for being given this amazing opportunity.

Here tonight we have some of our pupils eagerly waiting to collect their well earned prizes, some awards for academic excellence, some for amazing progress and some for simply trying their very best!  All these wonderful aspects of learning should be acknowledged.

But firstly, I am delighted to tell you about all our amazing achievements this year.

The pursuit of academic excellence starts from the moment our children begin their learning journey with us in Kindergarten so caringly led by Sandra Revill and her team who lovingly encourage such young little minds to achieve their very best using both innovational and traditional methods without overlooking the most important ingredient, which is the sheer undiluted magic of childhood.  That magic that cannot last for any of us, when we are seeing the World for the first time in awe and wonder of all that is round us.  These early happy and secure days at school are critical to the rest of our lives, so it is very important we get the perfect balance.  A poem written by one of our five year olds truly sums it up:

“Uniform feels like a giant old shirt

And mummy’s not here to help me

What if they push me into the mud

And mummys not here to help me

Then my teacher swoops in, magic wand in hand

And suddenly I’m safe in an unknown land.

How truly precious childhood is!

Our Junior School led by Joanne Littlefield really does produce outstanding academic results.  The pupils are thought traditionally in all subjects keeping the tried and tested methods we know work whilst never forgetting to keep an eye on the new cutting edge approaches now available.  By the end of the Juniors we achieve excellent 11+ results allowing the children to go on to pursue highly competitive educations.

However, when I look at our pupils I see unlimited possibilities.  Ultimately I honestly think the future belongs to those who are taught to believe in the beauty of their dreams whether these be academic, artistic, dramatic or sporting.  I know the future of the World is in this school tonight and the fact is we are all different and the education this school gives is the most powerful weapon which they can use to change the World!  Every individual child is encouraged and given the very best for them personally.

By the end of the Juniors our pupils are both academically and emotionally ready for Senior Education.

Our senior school overseen by Jeff Summers truly celebrates the individual, we are small enough that we know and care for every one by name, we realise and understand their talents, gifts and personal aspirations for the future.

We celebrate our value added teaching and learning where pupils absolutely surpass any predictions.  We monitor this with the utmost care and Polly Lines our Learning Manager carefully tracts all pupils progress throughout the school.

Our senior school, most unusually manages to offer our pupils an individualised assortment of GCSE options from an extensive range of subjects.  This is miraculously worked out by the very hard work, determination and patience of our curriculum manager, Lesley Hyland, our pupils actually create the option lines of their dreams.  They then go on to achieve the very best GCSE success possible for them.

In summary of our academic excellence every pupil can each follow their own paths knowing that the time and enduring power of this school, with its ideals, values and determination will make them the best they can be, and will enable them to go out into the World, stand on their own two feet and be both happy and successful.

This year we said a sad farewell to the following much loved teachers, Linda Lewis and Alison Riches.  Linda to retire and Alison to pursue teaching at A level, we wish them both good luck for the future.

We welcomed the following staff, Hannah Blore in the Juniors, Helen Moreira as Head of Girls PE and Jo Wilkes and Neeral Bhatt In the English department.  I wish them all enormous success and happiness and hope in time they will love St John’s as much as the rest of us.

Our pastoral care and safeguarding team involving senior managers in Kindergarten and Juniors and Sharon Zoller and Barbara Hobbs in the Seniors provide support to all our pupils and try their best to steer our children into a safe harbour after any storm.

Safeguarding children is of extreme importance and must be exacting and spot on, Liz Morgan and Bea Raynard work tirelessly to achieve this remarkable feat.

I would like to sincerely thank my senior management team, Mike Butler, Andrew Angeli and Amy Fleming, from the bottom of my heart who work so tirelessly with me.  Their individual contributions to our school are immeasurably invaluable and so appreciated.  Lastly an enormous thank you to all the staff at St John’s, each and every one of you is so truly valued.

Our sporting achievements, our extra-curricular activities including a very successful Duke of Edinburgh scheme, and our speech and drama awards are absolutely outstanding.  Music for Spring showcased all our wonderful musicians and our annual play “A day at the Races” delighted audiences on two evenings.

Our Charity programme is fantastic and given the most amazing support for so many worthy causes and our children continue to enjoy many trips, both day and residential.

Our building programme is very evident with a new science block incorporating a state of the art chemistry lab, new biology and new food technology classrooms.

Apart from academic achievement and respect and decency, amongst those things we are most proud of is teaching our pupils the ability to laugh at themselves.  Even I have to remind myself from time to time and here is a rather scary example of that.

It is so very true to say that every child I walk past has a story to tell me that simply must be heard, these precious moments I shall cherish all my days, they also give me so many opportunities to laugh at myself as I become involved in some very funny conversations.

Here is one of hundreds:  A little girl ran up to me and declared rather excitedly my mum and I were wondering how old you are Mrs Armour and we thought early 50’s (immediately I loved this mummy and daughter!) then she said well are you?  Oh dear, I thought now what shall I say.  I decided to opt for what I thought was at least bordering on the ridiculous.  Not quite I said I’m actually in my early 90’s.  Oh she said, I’ll let mummy know and off she skipped.  I stood for a moment then carried on my way laughing out loud.  She had completely believed me!  And I was left thinking, oh dear Mrs Armour the ravages of time are taking their toll!

Frightening thought!  But the ability to laugh at ourselves is certainly so important.

As I have said throughout, the importance of individuality is of paramount importance and with that in mind often refer to the children as flowers, some are roses, some daisies, some tulips but all so beautiful in their own unique ways and altogether they create a wonderful garden.

If a child is lucky enough to be different, they don’t ever have to change, the principle goal after all is to create individuals who are capable of doing new and inspiring things!

Here are some of the many talents our pupils have:

  •  Dancers – ballet, jazz, street, Irish
  • Actors
  • Singers
  • Gymnasts
  • Runners
  • Muscians
  • Swimmers
  • Motor cross drivers
  • Tennis players
  • Organists
  • Footballers
  • Karate competitors
  • Cricketers
  • Models
  • And Skaters

Yes all in our school right now.  And of course bringing them together can create such wonderful results.  This is encapsulated in a recent sporting outcome which demonstrates the St John’s garden and values so eloquently, emphasising the individuals becoming a whole and truly trying their best.  This football match actually happened although all names have been changed for data protection purposes:

Last Friday our under 16’s played Thorpe Hall at home.  The outcome looked

Bleak as this year the team, had not won a single football match to date, but a different attitude and intensity from the St John’s boys resulted in a 2-0 lead and it would seem thanks to our PE Department they had finally broken the mould.   A mis-kick from Arthur rebounded on a mole hill into the back of the net.  Then a third goal from St John’s was fired in from the edge by Chester Boddington.  But unfortunately the boys dropped their guard and had a lapse of concentration allowing Thorpe Hall to get back into the game conceding two goals.  However, St John’s came back with a kick from Arthur into the area which rebounded off 4 players before Bertie Busby finally finished it off with a tap into the goal before the half time whistle.  The half time score was St Johns 4, Thorpe Hall 2.

A half time masterful re-shuffle was executed with some fire and brimstone team talk and out of the blocks came Cuthbert Smythes.  His intense work rate saw him play a perfect cross to our dauntless moirander Chester’s boot and another str4ike from him found the back of the rigging.

During the dying embers of the game the boys continued to dig deep and Chester scored his hat trick.

Final score St John’s 6 and Thorpe Hall 3 leaving our opponents to contemplate another thrashing in the future.

A half time masterful reshuffle was executed and some tactical changes made and out of the blocks came Cuthbert Smythes, his intense work rate saw him play a perfect cross to Chester’s boot.  Another strike from Chester finding the back of the net.  Shortly after the boys continued to dig deep and Chester scored his hat-trick.  Final score was St John’s 6, Thorpe Hall 3.  The men of the match were Cuthbert Smythes for covering every inch of the pitch and Chester Boddington for his master class.

How much fun and how positive was that, the School was absolutely captivated and listened so intensely in assembly they were truly proud of our boys.

Next year our school celebrates its 90th birthday and no matter how much time goes by our school still stands, as strong and proud as it has for almost a century embracing so many wonderful traditional attitudes, tried and tested but sadly forgotten in so many schools.

There is laughter round every corner.  Every pupil is given the right and the opportunity to achieve their very best, be able to stand up in a crowd, hold their heads up high and be truly proud of their achievements.

Ladies & Gentlemen I give you our amazing pupils.

Head Girl & Head Boy Speech

PRIZE GIVING SPEECH 2016

IN PRIMUL RAND AM VREA SA VA MULTUMIM PENTRU CA ATI VENIT LA OFERIREA PREMILOR EDITIA 89. SPERAM CA V-AU PLACUT PREMIILE LUATE SI DE ASEMENEA SPECTACOLUL.

FOR THOSE OF YOU THAT HAVE A LIMITED KNOWLEDGE OF THE ROMANIAN  LANGUAGE , AURELIA HAS JUST SAID

‘WE WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING OUR 89TH PRIZE GIVING. WE HOPE YOU HAVE ENJOYED CELEBRATING SOME OF OUR SUCCESSES AND ALSO ENJOYED THE ENTERTAINMENT’

IN 2014 WHEN I ARRIVED MY USE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE WAS LIMITED AND MY KNOWLEDGE OF BRITAIN EVEN LESS. HOWEVER OVER THE LAST 2 YEARS BOTH OF THESE HAVE HOPEFULLY INCREASED AND MUCH OF THIS IS DUE TO ST JOHNS.

 IN A WORLD WHERE CURRENTLY ANYTHING SEEMS POSSIBLE – A LEAVE VOTE FOR BREXIT, DONALD TRUMP ELECTED AS U.S PRESIDENT – ST JOHNS SCHOOL HAS ALWAYS MADE THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE NOT JUST FOR AURELIA, BUT FOR ALL OF US TO PROGRESS AND FLOURISH.

SO, AURELIA, YOU’VE LEARNT ABOUT BRITAIN WHY NOT TELL US A FEW INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT ROMANIA.

OK -DID YOU KNOW THAT IT WAS A ROMANIAN WHO FIRST INVENTED THE FOUNTAIN PEN?

 SO WE HAVE GOT HIM TO BE BLAME FOR THE ESSAYS WE HAVE TO WRITE!

DID YOU KNOW THAT ROMANIA HAS EUROPES LARGEST POPULATION OF BROWN BEARS AND IN SOME MOUNTAIN AREAS THEY GO THROUGH THE GARBAGE FOR  FOOD.

 YES, BUT WE HAVE THE ST JOHN’S SCHOOL SQUIRRELS!

DID YOU KNOW THAT IT WAS A ROMANIAN GYMNAST WHO FIRST SCORED A PERFECT 10 AT THE 1976 OLYMPICS?

 YES BUT WE’RE ALWAYS GETTING PERFECT 10s FOR OUR HOMEWORK AT ST JOHNS.

ERM – YEAH MAYBE – ANYWAY DID YOU KNOW ROMANIA ENJOYS SOME OF THE FASTEST INTERNET SPEEDS IN EUROPE?

 YES BUT IN ST JOHNS ………………………………….NEXT!

THE STRADA SFORII IN ROMANIA IS SAID TO BE THE NARROWEST STREET IN EUROPE

 YES BUT WE’VE GOT ST JOHN’S DRIVE THROUGH

OK LAST ONE – ROMANIA HAS RICH GOLD RESOURCES AND ALSO HAS THE ONLY MUSEUM IN EUROPE DEDICATED TO GOLD

 HUH – YES BUT WE HAVE MRS ARMOUR! WHO IS GOLDEN IN EVERY WAY. MANY OF YOU WILL HAVE HEARD OF THE SAYING ‘ALL THAT GLITTERS IS NOT GOLD’

WELL I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT MRS ARMOUR PROVES THIS WRONG NOT ONLY DOES SHE GLITTER; BY BRIGHTENING OUR LIVES EACH DAY; SHE ALSO RADIATES GOLD IN HER WARMTH AND BELIEFS OF HER PUPILS.

OR SUNT DOAR DIAMANTELE  EI CARE NE UIMESC !!!!!

 WHAT DOES THAT MEAN AURELIA?

I’LL EXPLAIN LATER – A MAGIC SWEETIE FOR ANYONE WHO CAN TRANSLATE THIS CORRECTLY.

BOTH MYSELF AND LOUIS HAVE SEEN BOTH SIDES – BEFORE ST JOHNS,  NOW AT ST JOHNS, AND SOON SADLY AFTER ST JOHNS , ALTHOUGH OUR JOURNEY TO THIS MAGICAL  SCHOOL HAS BEEN DIFFERENT WE BOTH AGREE THAT THE THINGS WE HAVE ACHIEVED AND THE PROGRESS WE HAVE MADE IN ALL ASPECTS OF OUR SCHOOL LIVES IS AS A RESULT OF BEING AT ST JOHNS. IT IS A UNIQUE SCHOOL WHICH ALLOWS ITS PUPILS TO BE THEMSELVES, TO BE INDIVDUAL AND TO BE UNIQUE IN THEIR OWN WAYS.

 ON BEHALF OF OURSELVES AND ALL OF THE PUPILS AT ST JOHN’S, WE MUST THANK MRS OSEN, MRS ARMOUR AND ALL THE STAFF FOR GIVING US THE OPPORTUNITY, WHEREVER WE ARE FROM, HOWEVER WE FIND OUR WAY HERE, TO CELEBRATE OUR DIVERSITY OUR SUCCESSES AND SOMETIMES FOR ACHIEVING THE IMPOSSIBLE.

WE MUST ALSO THANK YOU, OUR PARENTS AND FRIENDS FOR YOUR GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT AND FOR PROVIDING US WITH THIS WONDERFUL  OPPORTUNITY TO BE HERE.

SO FINALLY IN A WORLD WHERE IT SEEMS ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

MAYBE ED BALLS WINNING ‘STRICTLY’

MAYBE HONEY G WINNING THE X FACTOR

WE ARE NOW GOING TO ATTEMPT SOMETHING THAT LOUIS NEVER THOUGHT WOULD BE POSSIBLE AND REMEMBER  AS NELSON MANDELLA ONCE SAID ‘THINGS ALWAYS SEEM IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL THEY ARE DONE’. OVER TO YOU LOUIS.

 NOAPTE BUNA, VA MULTUMIM PENTRU CA ATI VENIT SI CONDUCETI CU GRIJA

WHICH IS ROMANIAN FOR

GOODNIGHT, THANK YOU FOR COMING AND HAVE A SAFE JOURNEY HOME.

L .HYLAND (HEAD OF PREFECTS)

A. BARBU (HEAD GIRL) & L. EAVES (HEAD BOY)