Category Archives: 2020

Upper School Christmaths Challenge

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Year 7 and 8 competed in the annual Christmaths Challenge this week, working in teams to complete a series of seasonal mathematical problems and puzzles, such as arranging the numbers 1 to 9 on baubles on a Christmas tree, ensuring that no prime numbers are joined by a tinsel ‘wire’.

The winning teams in each year were as follows:

Year 8: Aadi T, Eliza L, Zara L, Freddie S, Shelby H and Willow A

Year 7: Maddie C, Zach F, Jack M, Ollie S, Jamie MW, Georgia P

Well done to you all!

Science Christmas STEAM Morning

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This week all the Prep School children took part in a festive STEAM morning. The purpose of the morning was to get the children involved in STEAM activities designed to incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths as well as get the festive fun started! A whole variety of activities were put on for the children, led by eager and enthusiastic Christmas jumper-wearing teachers!

Year 3 were treated to two different activities: one saw the children make rockets out of cardboard, duct tape and plasticine and then launch them in the air using an air pressure launching system! Great fun was had by all. The winners were:

Overall (and 3S) – Anshul J and Matthew M
3B – Saskia B and Bea C-A
3ML – Quentin S
3SL – Harry S and Edward P

The other Year 3 activity was an Art activity, where the children created pop-out Christmas cards of snowmen and snowwomen!

Year 4 also had two different activities to do. One task was to create 3D Christmas Tree models, trying to make them as sturdy as possible but only being able to use newspaper and Sellotape! A tricky task but the children rose to the challenge and made some fantastic structures. The second activity was making pop-up bauble Christmas cards!

Some standout efforts and for great team work:

Rose B and Aurelia B
Olivia S and Martha M
Kenzie B and Liberty T
Ned G and Edward B for sheer perseverance in the face of adversity (USP – a collapsible Christmas tree!)

Year 5 were given the hard task of transporting brussels sprouts from the top of the Sports Hall to the bottom without losing any! They had to get to grips with tying some tricky knots and using pulleys in order to be successful and were fantastic at testing and adapting their methods.

Year 6 were told that they needed to create a water-based method for Father Christmas to deliver his presents. They were given all the equipment needed to make a fan-powered system and then developed their boat/floating grotto around this. Some super creativity and engineering was on show!

Year 7 had the opportunity to create a Winter Wonderland fairground. They designed and assembled their fairground rides, using electrical circuits, gears and pulleys and then decorated them brilliantly to fit in with the Winter Wonderland theme. They were judged on the safety of their ride as well as how well it worked and the design.

Winners: Maia B, Bea H, Poppy B and Harriet D
Special mention for engineering: Huckleberry G, Jack M, Charlie R and Ollie S

Year 8 were posed with a Climate Change Crisis. Father Christmas had been in touch to say that the North Pole was under water due to rising sea levels and could we help him create a floating structure for him, Mrs Claus, the elves and the reindeer. Year 8 rose to the challenge fantastically, using a variety of materials to create a stable floating structure. The winning team’s model was able to hold 1600g of mass before sinking!!

Winners: Santa Banta (Willow A, Arthur S, Harry C)

Thank you to all the staff who made it such an enjoyable, as well as educational, day!

For more photos, please go to the Gallery

BBC Young Unsung Hero Award


We are extremely proud of Georgia L (Year 6), who has been nominated for the BBC Young Unsung Hero Award 2020.

Georgia was nominated by the charity Restless Development after cycling (and running) tirelessly throughout the summer to complete all six distance challenges in the #trithisathome Challenge that replaced the Flight Centre Schools Triathlon, that normally takes place at Marlborough College in the Summer Term.

She completed a total distance of 251.90km and has worked so hard to raise £345 to date. Georgia was really happy to hear that the money she has raised so far has enabled a young woman from a community in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania to make 1890 face masks for her community and help protect thousands of people from Covid-19.

Restless Development also interviewed Georgia back in August for International Youth Day. In the interview, she talked about the challenges she undertook to raise money for the charity and her motivation. You can read the full interview here:

Georgia’s fundraising page is still open, so if anyone would like to make a donation and help Georgia raise more money towards the continuous work the charity do, please go to:

Year 3 Bridge Building Challenge

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As part of their Science topic on the properties of materials, and their Maths work on 3D shapes, Year 3 were challenged to build a bridge using 10 pieces of paper and 1.5m of sellotape. They had to build the strongest bridge, that would hold the most mass. All the children worked incredibly hard, using all their scientific and mathematical knowledge, but the winners were Bella S and Quentin S, whose bridge was able to support a tremendous 3.6kg! Well done!

For more photos, please go to the Gallery.

Scholarship News

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Congratulations to the following, who are our first scholars of the year!

Amelia E – Academic Scholarship to Rendcomb College

Polly L – Sports Scholarship to Clifton College

Pinewood Virtual Christmas Fair

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Our fantastic, festive Christmas Fair moves online this year due to Covid-19.

We really hope that you will help us support our wonderful stallholders, who have had a really tough year, by joining us at the ‘Virtual’ Christmas Fair – do all your Christmas shopping in one place and support local small businesses at the same time.

Please click here to download the full list of this year’s would-be stallholders.

Happy Shopping!

Live ‘Agora’ Day

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Year 8 set 1 recently participated in an organised event to stimulate discussion and debate around the following themes: Public Interest, National Security, Motive and Rule of Law. It was a live and interactive event across the country with other schools. We were able to vote live on the themes, which was exciting and engaged us throughout the day. We could also share our ideas and comment through a ‘chat bar’ with the other schools. Although the story was fictional the questions raised and responses generated were very much applicable to our lives today and that of our future.

The story revolved around the fictional country of Namovia and the question as to whether a government worker should be punished for ‘whistleblowing’ in the public interest. She believed that the people of Namovia should know that the secret service were spying on them (listening to their phone calls and reading their emails and texts). Throughout the day we watched live news bulletins, heard arguments for and against. After each bulletin we discussed the relevant theme and completed activities in order to evaluate both sides of the argument and reach our decision to be shared with other schools. The two biggest highlights for us were the live phone call from the AGORA HQ, allowing us to share our thoughts about the day. They were very impressed with our feedback and the discussions we were having, to the extent that we were on the call for over 6 minutes! Secondly, we finished the day with a class debate, allowing us to share and develop our opinions.

It was so successful that Mr Downe and Mr Hewitt-Boorman are looking forward very much to the opportunity to participate in the event next Spring with the whole of Year 8.

Eleanor D, Jecca LT, Sonny N and Matilda M

Pinewood Remembers

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The whole Pinewood community came together yesterday to remember those who had given their lives for our freedom. We heard beautiful readings by staff and pupils, some outstanding trumpet playing by Jack M, and wonderful singing by Year 8 girls, and the end of the 2 minutes’ silence was marked by an explosion of poppies from a top floor window.

We were very fortunate to have videographer, Luke Koch de Gooreynd, here to record the occasion and to enable us to share the moment with the wider community, which we hope you will all enjoy.

Pinewood’s Response to Covid-19

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Pinewood reopened its doors to all pupils on Monday 7th September 2020.  Over the summer the school and its Governing Body worked incredibly hard on putting a number of measures in place which would ensure the safety of all members of our community (such as one way systems, clear signage and measures to allow for social distancing).  These changes are regularly revisited and revised in order to adhere to the latest Government guidelines and recommendations.  The measures are clearly explained to the children in an appropriate manner and daily reminders are given.

We recognise though that Covid-19 has had a marked change on our day-to-day life and therefore hope that the information below highlights that, although changed, Pinewood is still able to offer a comprehensive and varied education to our children.   Their well-being and enjoyment of school life is as important to us as their safety.

Are parents allowed onsite?

The number of visitors and parents onsite is kept to a minimum. Day children will move into school independently in the morning and be ready for collection from the drive in the afternoons. Maintaining good communication between teachers and parents is of great importance but should be through email in the first instance. In addition, virtual catch up meetings with either Class Teachers, Form Tutors or Heads of School can be arranged.  Any other visitors on site are very carefully managed.

What are the drop-off and pick up arrangements in the morning?

The start and end of the school stay is now staggered to keep children in different pods apart and minimise congestion on the drive. Pre-Prep children need to be ready to get in and out of cars quickly and the Head and Deputy Head of Pre-Prep will assist children as necessary.  Prep children will need to have their belongings ready in the car and move quickly and independently from the car to the classroom in the mornings and vice versa in the evenings.  At the end of the day the children will be ready to leave and waiting on the drive at the specified time. There is no parking available for parents on the drive at pick up.

How is the school managing large gatherings?

For the time being we are unable to host large gatherings.  However, traditional school life has been maintained, albeit in a different manner.  Events such as assemblies, lectures and church services are still taking place, but in smaller pod gatherings.

How are mealtimes managed?

We are delighted to confirm that a full catering service has resumed this term, offering children and staff a freshly cooked, hot lunch, in addition to delicious breakfasts and suppers for our boarders.

Are the children able to play sport to the level they were pre-Covid-19?

Children are able to enjoy a comprehensive games programme.  Although Prep Inter-School fixtures are currently postponed, a full games programme is on offer, with internal matches taking place on Wednesday afternoons and relevant Saturday mornings. House matches take place on Wednesday afternoon and on Saturdays on in-weekends Years 5-8 will compete in the inaugural Cross Keys Super Cup. Each age group will be divided into mixed ability teams and matches will be played across the term’s sports.

Risk Assessments are in place in line with each sport’s National Governing Body (NGB) current Road Map – Return to Play. The programme will be reviewed regularly and adapted in line with NGB guidance published.

Are music lessons still taking place?

The majority of instrumental music lessons will be offered to Prep School children only and will take place with the relevant safety measures taken into consideration. These will include strings, guitar, piano and percussion. In accordance with government guidance, wind, brass and singing lessons will be offered remotely until further notice.

Is Drama still being taught?

Drama lessons are continuing as normal and we are continuing to plan and prepare for our usual production schedule.  That said, it may be that the performances are in-house events only, with the possibility of filming any productions for the benefit of parents.  We will continue to review this in line with government guidance.

Is boarding still an option for my child?

Having followed government advice and working closely with the Boarding Schools Association (BSA) we were thrilled to welcome back our Weekly Boarders from the start of term.  Both the boys’ and girls’ boarding areas have been recently refurbished which further enhances the overnight provision. Regular boarding continues to be under review and any developments will be communicated to parents accordingly.

What about extra-curricular activities and the Thursday activity programme?

The Thursday Activity programme will run as usual with some adaptations in place to work within our Covid responsibilities. Form Tutors go through all the available activities (anything from Fencing, Archery, Golf, Tennis, Chess, Cross Country and Yoga) with their tutees on the first day of term, from which the children select which they would like to participate in. Children will then select an activity for the first half of term. In the second half of term we will rotate into a new selection for the children. Each activity will be for a full 70 minute session. Children will play and enjoy their activity within their “school pods”.

Does the School offer School Transport?

The normal minibus service resumed from the start of term for all pre-booked places.  We feel that with the proximity of the children, and the fact that they will be from different age groups and pods, all children should wear a face covering, even if they are under 11 years old. We ask parents to ensure that these coverings are correctly put on before the children enter the minibus.

Government guidance states that pupils are allowed to be on school transport together even if they are not in the same pod. This is because it is solely for school use and not public transport.  A perspex screen has been installed between the driver and the passengers.

What emotional support is offered to the children?

We recognise that lockdown will have had a huge impact upon children and families and, although they may have had many positive experiences, the pandemic may have affected the mental wellbeing of some in more negative ways. Pinewood staff are aware of and prepared for this and will be guided by the Head of Well-Being and Emotional Support in supporting children as they resume school life. Measures in place offering additional support have been communicated to all children at the start of term.

What will happen if there is a case of Covid-19 in the School?

In accordance with government guidance, we will take all the necessary steps if children or staff display symptoms of Covid-19.

Additional Information

Please click on the links below for further information:

COVID-19 arrangements for safeguarding and child protection for Pinewood School

Risk Assessment Covid 19 – Return of Pre-Prep

Risk Assessment Covid 19 – Return of Prep

Remote Education For Absent Children

Coronavirus Related Absences Reference Guide

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Pinewood Does Movember!

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We all need something to make us smile at the moment and it’s great to do something for others by working together as a community, so why not join the Pinewood Movember team?

If you don’t fancy a bit of extra facial hair this month, you can always sponsor us instead!

Please click here to take you through to our Movember page, where you can join the team and make a donation.

Thank you!