Gold with distinction for our Unicorn Singers … and more!
I would like to formally thank all the children in Year 6, their parents and the staff who teach them. Although there is still over a term to go with lots of challenging and fun work ahead of them, it feels like the end of a long process which started in September as they built up towards the main examination period, took a variety of assessments and then had to wait for senior schools to make decisions. The children have been fantastic throughout, working hard, supporting each other and maintaining their fun and humour. Their parents have looked out for them, encouraging, praising and comforting them when necessary. Many teachers have been involved in their exam preparation and each one of Year 6 should feel very proud of themselves.
Primary and preparatory school education is not all about exams and, particularly at Unicorn, we are proud to maintain the breadth of curriculum we offer, and to place as much importance on teaching values as the lessons they attend day to day. When the school was set up there was an emphasis on the creative arts and that remains as strong today. The creative excellence is seen at Unicorn every day. Just walking around the school, in the classrooms and the corridors, there is ample evidence of exceptional artwork. There was, of course, the wonderful Arts and Culture Week with the bird puppets before half term, and later in the term there will be Year 5’s production of Macbeth and also Musical Theatre performing Oliver!
Last weekend was a very special weekend and one I will remember for a long time to come. On Friday evening the Unicorn Singers took part in the Richmond Festival of Performing Arts and won their class; but that does not tell the whole story. They sang two very special pieces of music, special for different reasons. Their version of the Rhythm of Life was simply the best I have ever heard; from the very first beat they had the audience entranced, the clarity, the performance and the sound was wonderful. A very experienced adjudicator found it difficult to describe how exceptional the music was for a choir with children aged 7 up to 11 and awarded it a distinction. The second piece was a lovely, lyrical piece of music composed by the parents of a current pupil; a world premiere and the Unicorn Singers sang it beautifully.
The next day the choir sang the Unicorn Song and other pieces as part of a service to remember the life of Bert Chappell, husband of a founding headmistress of Unicorn and composer of our school song. It was so moving and those who have known Unicorn for 50 years, said it was the most beautiful performance of the school song they had heard.
Thank you to staff who went to Sayers Croft, helping make it such a great success for the children. Years 3 and 4 classes have been going to this activity centre for many years now because it is so well organised, giving children a chance for outdoor education and some comradery over a period of time. They learn so much more than science, geography and physical education during these residential trips. The values of kindness, courtesy, teamwork and resilience come to the fore and I have heard some great reports from teachers and pupils alike about their adventurous three days. I am sure they slept well upon their return!
The children enjoyed dressing up as a favourite book character last Thursday in celebration of World Book Day. Although the rain put a bit of a dampener during break times, with coats covering up the wonderful costumes, it is amazing how the dress and colour bring such joy to the children and put a smile on people’s faces. It was wonderful to see them parading around the Hall before our annual poetry competition. The winning boy and girl will be announced at Celebration Assembly, but all the children who stood up and performed were tremendous and we had a great variety of poetry performed ranging from Alan Ahlberg to William Shakespeare.