Spring 2024

with World Book Day, Safer Internet day, Sports competitions and Ofsted it has been a term of events!

From headteacher, Lisa Rutter-Brown

Although the Spring Term has been quite a short one this year, we have still managed to pack a lot in.  This term our focus has changed to 'Caring for Others' and each week we have shared a different focus through our five routines from learning about equity, knowing the protected characteristics, being peaceful and harmonious to developing tolerance and acceptance for differences. Read on to find out what each of the phases have been up to plus much more. 


Our beautiful work open afternoons and celebration assemblies have continued to be a great success, well attended by parents, carers, grandparents and other family members.  

The children love to share their work and having these open afternoons and assemblies gives the children a real authentic purpose to try really hard in everything that they do, knowing that they are going to have a captive audience to share their learning with.  What I love about our beautiful work is that it isn't about being 'the best' but doing 'your best'.  In one of our beautiful work celebration assemblies this term I shared Ken Petti's quote 'Every flower blooms in its own time', as creating work that is beautiful shouldn't be about being in competition with others, your work being better than another child's, but about you putting in that above and beyond effort into your own work and making it the best that you can. 

Curriculum @ Kingsmead

Early Years Foundation Stage 

Reception - Phase Leader Mrs Cotton

What a busy term in Ladybirds!

We have been busy in the kitchen, making  and baking our own gingerbread people, and when we learned about the Giant Jam Sandwiches we made our own sandwiches and taste tested jam. We found out about the Legend of Finn McCool and the Giants Causeway, the children couldn't wait to find out what happened at the end of the story! Our dinosaur topic was very popular, and the children made some amazing dioramas with their favourite dinos in them, using the collage and paper technology skills we have learnt.

We have worked hard indoors and out, working hard in our writing, phonics and maths, playing and learning with our friends and becoming useful and kind members of the school community. We love to learn outdoors too, we measured giant things on the playground with metre sticks and found out that the bike shed is the biggest thing we could measure. We chose racing sticks and played pooh sticks in our outdoor classroom. 

In our PE we have been developing our balancing and coordination skills by using the apparatus and climbing walls. The children loved it and their strength and confidence grew every week.

We invited parents into our first read-along, it was great to welcome so many grown ups into our classroom to share stories with the children.  We are now over half way through our first year of school already, with lots of adventures still to come!

St Oswald's Church Visit

Ladybirds went on their very first school trip, to St Oswald’s Church in Brereton Green. They were excited to go on a coach with their friends, and had a lovely morning learning how a church is a special place for Christians. Reverend Sandi and her team welcomed us and showed us all of the special places inside a church, they even let the children play the organ! 

Key Stage 1

Enjoyment and Achievement in Butterflies, Bees and Dragonflies

Phase leader Mrs Miller

Butterflies, Bees and Dragonflies 

Early in the spring term we received our new playground equipment, purchased using the money raised through the NSPCC's Kindness challenge. The children appreciate that playtimes are more fun when there is playground equipment to play with so they are working hard to ensure the equipment is used and tidied away carefully each day. 


This term in KS1 we’ve been Investigating India in our Geography lessons. We have found out about the human and physical features of India and what it is like to live in Mumbai. In art we have studied the symmetry and pattern of the Taj Mahal and drawn our own beautiful symmetrical pictures of the Taj Mahal.


In our PE lessons we thoroughly enjoyed our ‘Chance to shine cricket’ lessons with Andy, who expertly taught the children about throwing, bowling, catching, fielding and batting. The chance to shine cricket run sessions at local cricket clubs through the summer.


We have been so impressed with the children’s writing this term. The children have enjoyed writing their own stories in the style of ‘The Dragon Machine’ and writing a diary entry after reading ‘My Name is Not Refugee’.


In RE, we have been learning about Hinduism and Islam. As part of our learning on Hinduism, we learnt about Makar Sankranti (a festival celebrating the return of the sun) and made our own kites. Hindus often fly kites on Makar Sankranti in order to enjoy the sunlight and the health benefits it brings. We really enjoyed trying to fly our kites in the playground. 

Design Technology

In DT, we have made sandals, considering the properties we need from different layers of the sole and how we can ensure that they will stay on our feet.


In science we have been finding out about sources of light and investigating questions such as, ‘What is darkness?’ and ‘How are shadows formed?’ 

Lower Key Stage 2

Loving Learning in Cuckoos, Hen Harriers and the Sparrows

Phase leader for year 3 and 4, Mrs Hammond

This term the children have been learning about Ancient Egypt.   Within this topic the children have found out about the importance of the River Nile, studied a timeline of the history of Egypt, and considered how Egyptian artefacts tell us about the past.  They have also studied Howard Carter and learned how he discovered the pyramids.

Children were obviously disappointed that we were unable to attend our trip to the World Museum to see the exciting displays there, however, this may be something you could do over the Easter holidays and entrance is free. 

Rocco -  “I liked the part where Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tutankhamun but the water boy did not get the credit.

Felix  & Josh -  “What we enjoyed about Ancient Egypt was learning about Tutankhamun, how young he was when he became pharaoh, and how he died 10 years after becoming pharaoh.” 

Esme -  “I loved learning about Ancient Egypt because it is nice to learn about what they did in the weighing of the heart ceremony.  It was very interesting to learn how Tutankhamun’s tomb was discovered.” 

Evelyn & Isla - “The Ancient Egyptians have loads of gods and goddesses.  When the Egyptians’ pharaohs died, they had a process called mummification.  They had all their belongings with them for the afterlife.  You needed to live a good life so the gods/goddesses showed them to the afterlife.  If you didn’t, you would get eaten by Amut!” 


The children were learning about electricity and electrical circuits.  Pupils across the phase really enjoyed the opportunity to experiment with different circuits and investigate how using different battery sizes or number of bulbs affected the strength of light.  They also made their own switches.


Our topic this term has been to use a pneumatic system to create a Dragon Machine. Children designed a dragon head and attached a tube with a syringe at each end.  They learned how a pneumatic system worked and used this to open and close the mouth of their dragons.  It was lovely to see awe and wonder during this process!

Louis -  “In Design Technology, one of my favourite things was learning about the pneumatic system and building it in the moving monsters.”

Ian -  “I like the pneumatic system because the moving monsters were the most fun subject in the term.  We got to play around and it was mega fun so I liked it!”  


We have been creating symphonic drawings this term using Zentangles and focused on the work of Paul Klee.  The work is linked to our work on refugees and the idea of ‘Sanctuary’.


We kicked off the new year with a fabulously engaging poetry unit based upon Where the Zebras Go.  Children listened to some amazing poets performing their work, such as Sue Hardy-Dawson, the author of our focus book, John Agard, and Joseph Coehlo, Children’s Laureate.  Pupils explored concrete poems and calligrams and how they are both used to inform the reader what the poem is about.  They read a number of riddle poems in which you have to guess the subject of the poem.  Children created beautiful poetry journals to record their reflections and emotions linked to a variety of different poems.  Additionally, they found some excellent examples of poetic features, such as metaphor, simile and personification in poems by professionals.  They then had a go at writing and performing their own wonderful poems in different styles.  We were extremely lucky to receive a personalised letter from the author of our focus book, Sue Hardy-Dawson. 

The next book which we used to inspire our writing was The Fossil Girl:  Mary Anning's Dinosaur Discovery by Catherine Brighton.  The story of this curious young girl was told in comic style images in the story.  Children learned about her young life and how her discovery changed the way scientists view the world.  We shared a companion text, The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, to deepen children’s understanding.  Children then created their own scientific fossil journal using text features to present their writing in a cohesive manner.  Several children were so enthusiastic about the fossils that they visited museums during half term and shared their photos 

The final text we studied was Wisp:  A Story of Hope by Zana Fraillon and Grahame Baker-Smith.  This book depicts the life of a refugee as seen through the eyes of Idris, a young boy in a refugee camp.  We utilised the book Home by Carson Ellis to explore how home means different things to different people.  Pupils wrote emotive poems sharing what home means to them. Another book used to support understanding was Dreams of Freedom in Words and Pictures which shares the UN’s human rights in child-friendly language.  Children then created their own narrative from the viewpoint of the Wisp, an ethereal light which brings hope to the refugees in the camp.  Children utilised dialogue in their stories to make their characters come to life.  Most of all, children developed compassion and empathy for people across the world who have had to flee their homes for various reasons.  

Arianna - “In English, we were learning about the story, Wisp.  I loved this unit because it was all about refugees.  I love that it reminds people that there are still refugees out there that need our help.  It is a story of hope and rememberings.  I adored that story!”

Freddie - “In English, we have been learning about Mary Anning and Wisp.  It’s been really, really fun because we have been learning about how to punctuate speech and all kinds of stuff.  Me and a friend have been working together on English to make each other’s writing better.”

UPPER Key Stage 2

Showing Our Best Selves in Hedgehogs, Pine Martens and Red Squirrels 

Phase leader for year 5 and 6, Mrs Debbie McHugh

Wow what a busy Spring term it has been in UKS2! We have had a really exciting term with a wide range of learning across the curriculum. 

Our theme for the half term has been Invaders & Settlers. The children have learned lots about the Anglo-Saxons and why they came to Britain and what they brought with them. The homework that we have received linked to this has been fantastic and the displays in our classrooms really show this off. Thank you to our families who have supported children with this, it has been fantastic to see the various baking and hut building that has taken place!

In English, we have studied two new books this term as part of some new whole school English planning we have used. Our first text was Arthur & the Golden Rope. This lead to some fantastic writing and discussion and culminated in the children writing their own Norse Myth. We have been so impressed with the sentence structures and language that the children have used. Our second text focus has been on The Day War Came which is a poem based on a true story about there being no room for a refugee at a school. Our children have discussed this text with fantastic maturity and empathy. They finished by writing a letter to the Government to express their views on this and what they feel people can do to help.


A highlight of this term has been having the Young Shakespeare Company in to perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play was performed in an interactive way with many of the children taking part. We have some fabulous budding actors amongst them!

Lucia reports, “I was a Queen in the play called Hippolyta. I really enjoyed being a role, it was so fun to not only watch but also to be in it.”

Crosby reports, “My favourite part was when a character called Puck went running around everywhere and charging into us. It was definitely the best play that I have ever watched.”

Dhiviyesh reports, “It was super funny and it was really good. I got to play a part in the show and I was Moth (a bear fairy). My favourite character though was the wall. I loved how everyone could play a part and act. It was really fun!”

Emily reports, “ The characters were brought to life by our very own actors. Fairies were involved in this play, they looked like actual fairies.”


Daisy reports that, “Throughout the term we have been learning about activism and part of this has been making placards welcoming refugees to our communities.

We have learnt about the different styles of art and artists who used these techniques to create campaign art, this is when they make art to change the world. One artist who inspired us was Bob and Roberto Smith. I liked his artwork as it promoted peace and art.

Key stage two wanted to create slogan art like that artist; we used acrylic paint to add colour to our work and make it bright and noticeable. In one of our lessons we learnt about the different primary, secondary, tertiary and complementary colours by painting a colour wheel.

My slogan was: “Everyone should have a dream come true once”. I chose this phrase because a lot of refugees come to the UK to pursue their dreams and start a better life in a safe environment.

I am really pleased with my final piece as I used complementary colours that worked well together and I painted my letters in a typography font which I learnt in an earlier lesson.

Overall, I have learnt about different artists who used this style of art. I have really enjoyed this interesting unit and creating my placard.

Maya reports, “My slogan was, THEY ARE NOT ALIEN THEY ARE HUMAN, I chose this because I thought it represents refugees and peace as well. It also represents that they are no different from me or you and they are just another human being.We created our final pieces on cardboard and we used acrylic paint on our final design but pencils on our practice pieces. I put white dots on the background . The colours I used were purple, light blue , dark blue and green. I am very happy with my final piece.”

In DT, the children have been learning about bridges, they have found out about the history of some bridges and the different types of bridges. The children have then gone on to plan, design and make their own bridge. Ben reports, “In DT, we were making bridges out of paper and cellotape to see how many toy cars it could carry. My bridge won in my class by carrying 10 toy cars. I made mine so that it had a tunnel to hold the cars inside it and on top of it. Overall it has been really fun and interactive learning about bridges. 

Caring for other people this term

A real highlight of our latest Ofsted inspection was the acknowledgement from the inspection team that the children at Kingsmead really understand what it means to care for other people. They were amazed by the different opportunities that the children were encouraged to be part of to 'give back' and their own understanding of what being truly equitable means.  From giving up their time to be mentors, mini police officers, eco councillors to participating in community events like 'Bob a Job'.  Spending time enriching your community is a great way to broaden your perceptions of the world. By immersing yourself in a community and surrounding yourself with people who are dedicated to bettering the world, you too can learn so much about how the world works. 

'Kingsmead pupils are proud citizens of their school and its local community. They have a well-informed view of national and global issues. Pupils learn that they can enact change and they are proud to do so. Pupil leaders play a very important role in the school.' Ofsted 2024

Oliver & Paul - “We learned that on average five people in thirty (so five people in most classes) might have neurodiversity.  They might have trouble with speaking and walking and might have trouble with loud noises.”

Georgia - “We learnt about neurodiversity and how if it’s really loud in the classroom, assembly, or even in the lunch hall, someone with neurodiversity will think it’s too loud because their body might feel pain from it.  So always think about if you need to talk or not.  You have to think about them and other people.”

Tiny Steps

A huge thank you to all of the children and families that took part in the 'Bob a Job' week to help raise money for a local charity, Tiny Steps. We have been so impressed with how you have stepped up, helping out your families and other people in the local community.  From helping with the hoovering, washing cars and tidying your rooms, you have raised an amazing £419.10.  Well done.


Mini Police

The Mini Police started off this term with the Bleep Test. The Bleep Test is a multistage fitness test that is commonly used as a running aerobic fitness test. The test involves continuous running between two lines, the idea is to reach the other side before the next bleep. This test is commonly used by the police as part of their application and entry into the police force. The children loved completing this and it was brilliant to see their fitness levels.

The Mini Police have also been working with PCSO Lee to develop a parking promise to help ensure the safety of all people visiting our school.  They have created a leaflet that has been distributed to parents and carers and have been working alongside the PSCO team to monitor parking around the school grounds.  Some of you may have a received a ticket from our Mini Police to remind you about our parking promise or you may have been the lucky ones who received a ticket as a thank you for parking correctly.  We are so proud of our Mini Police and how seriously they take their role. They are really helping to make improvements in our local community for all to benefit from. 

Report by Edward - This term the Mini Police have been doing parking tickets. First, we had to design them, the most popular idea was ‘PC Panda says No!’ and ‘PC Panda says punishment!’. The parking tickets were phenomenal and what I learnt was that time flies when you’re having fun because as soon as we had started designing them it was home time. We had a blast giving the tickets out! We spoke to some parents and they were very happy to receive the ‘good’ ticket. We only had one ‘bad’ ticket to give out for the parent parking. 

Pupil Parliament

Our Pupil Parliament representatives John and William have been working hard alongside other children from Northwich schools to look at each school's vision and ethos.  The overarching theme for their meetings has been about community and for the children to develop their own Pupil Parliament Vision and Values linked to the NEP.  They noticed that although each school's values were different there was a lot of similar themes and ideas.  As a group they have selected 'respect, kind and safe' as the three words that encompass what they want in the NEP community. Next term there will be a competition for the children to design a logo for the finished ideas and they will create an action plan of all their ideas for the future of the parliament. 

Special events in school this term

World Book Day

A huge thank you to Mrs Buzzard for coordinating the event and ensuring that the children experienced a wonderful day immersed in reading. 

Literature correspondent - Mrs Buzzard

On March 7th, Kingsmead celebrated the joy of reading in our World Book Day activities.  The sheer variety of books represented in children’s (and teachers’) costumes was inspiring!  The morning kicked off with each class attending a book bistro in which they could ‘have a taste’ of a variety of books.  Over 400 new books were purchased with funds raised through the weekly Bookworms Book Club fees.  Children had a chance to peruse books of all sorts:  graphic novels, football stories, comedy, diverse stories, picture books and more.  These books have now been dispersed throughout school for children to borrow and read for pleasure.  

The lovely book club children shared their enthusiasm for books with all Key Stage 1 children by leading a book emoji quiz.  Bookworms were so positive and encouraging and showed great leadership conducting the fun session in each class.  Reading Ambassadors helped to lead the whole school assembly to share information about the World Book Day theme, Read Your Way.  They also shared the World Book Day book choices and revealed the answers to the ever-popular Masked Reader challenge.  Thank you to the many teachers who volunteered to share a poem!  

Report by Sean - This term we celebrated World Book Day. On WBD, we took part in the ‘Masked Reader’ where we had to figure out which teacher was reading different poems. We also dressed up as characters from books. I dressed up as Marcus Rashford because I like him and he plays football well. It was a spectacular day!

A great way to promote reading is for children to have the opportunity to meet an author.  Many classes joined in a range of live author virtual events this week.  These included drawing events with Axel Sheffler, Ed Vere, Kael Tudor and Nicola Slater for our younger readers and Sarah Bowie for our older readers.  Some of our LKS2 children joined in a Footy and Booky quiz with authors Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton. 

Thank you to all families who supported children in considering which books help to make them a reader.  We received an overwhelming number of Reading Rivers across all age groups.  These will be compiled into a video montage to demonstrate the reading journeys of our children.  Upper Key Stage 2 children spent the afternoon creating artwork of their favourite reads.  The results were astounding and these will be displayed in our library when it has been refurbished.  

Esme - “I loved World Book Day!  We did lots of different things like Masked Reader and design your own book token.  I loved looking at all the costumes!  World Book Day was amazing!” 

Finally, the day culminated in the children not just leaving with a token for a book, but with one of the World Book Day selections.  Hopefully, this eliminated some legwork for grown-ups and got children reading straight away!  

National Reading Champions Quiz

Mrs Buzzard entered a team into the National Reading Champions Quiz, run by the National Literacy Trust.  The event was held online against 23 other schools. As the event was open to children aged 10-14, most of the competing schools were high schools. The team worked extremely well collaboratively and remained calm and collected under pressure. As this was our first time joining the event, we weren't sure what to expect and were glad for the opportunity to raise the profile of reading at Kingsmead.

Report by Isabella Taylor - Four young individuals from our classes entered the National Reading Champions Competition and on Monday 18th March we competed in the quiz. It was hosted by Mr Dilly, a book reviewing sensation. This fun quiz had 8 rounds and we answered over 40 questions correctly. We came 1st in Primary Schools in Cheshire West. Come on Kingsmead!

Over and Above Readers

Each half term we present a child from each class with a book token, to recognise the extra effort they have put in to their reading.  Luke received a book token last half term and has shared a book review to encourage other children to also read this book.  Luke loved this book and would recommend it to children who like fantasy and mythical beasts. 

The Big Plastic Count

Eco Councillors Edward and Isabelle report - The eco group have been working really hard to plan and deliver whole school assemblies to share the information about The Big Plastic Count.  We spent ages developing a powerpoint and we have been using our lunchtimes to input the information the children have collected about their plastic use.  This information is being shared with the UK Government so they can review plastic use in the UK and any changes that need to be made.  One family recorded that they threw away 117 plastic items linked to food in just one week! After we have finished inputting all of the data we have received from our families, we intend to write some letters to the UK Government about plastic waste and what can be done to reduce it. 

Musical Showcase

We finished off the Spring Term with our second musical showcase concert of the year to celebrate our wonderful musician's accomplishments.  Some of the children who played have only been playing for six months, but they are already so brilliant.  Our musicians obviously put in the time to practice and this was certainly evident in their performances.  Well done. 


Sporting News

Thank you to Chris Story at VRSSP for organising competitions. Many are for older children as this is where competitive sport starts to be more relevant and enjoyable for our young people. 

PE and Sport leader, Debbie McHugh takes us through just some of the term's physical activity

This term has been filled with a variety sporting successes to celebrate. It has been wonderful to see so many of our children represent Kingsmead at one of the Vale Royal School Sporting Partnership Events. All the children who have attended events have represented Kingsmead brilliantly showing the key sporting values of determination, passion, respect, honesty, self belief and teamwork. 


Way back in January, a group of 16 Year 5/6 children took part in a SportsHall Athletics competition at Leftwich High School. The children took part in both track and field events which included- triple jump, javelin, obstacle races and relays. This is always a really fun event and the atmosphere is fantastic with a lot of noise! We were narrowly beaten into second place on the day. There were brilliant performances by all that took part.


The Year 5/6 netball team went along to the Netball Finals to represent the Leftwich Cluster. They had previously qualified for this event by winning all of their matches at the cluster event. The team of Charlotte, Lexi, Daisy, Emily, Grace, Holly and Malina played brilliantly on the day. They worked well as a team and it was clear to see how much their game improved as the tournament went on. They finished runners-up on the day, only losing to the team who were the eventual winners. Well done to all involved and thank you to Mrs Ramsden who runs our netball club each week- the girls were certainly well prepared.

Y6 Netball Tournament by Lexi and Charlotte

Last month, we attended a netball semi-final competition at Leftwich High School. We came runners up in this event and moved on to the final which was held at Hartford High School. In the final we came up against teams from Hartford, Antrobus, Comberbach,Winsford, and Davenham primary schools. We beat every team but Hartford and so we came 2nd in the final.

Holly and Sophie report, “In the Spring term Yr 3-6 did a gymnastics competition at Moss Farm. On that Wednesday, we gathered all our contenders and travelled in different vehicles to the competition. When we got there, we performed our routines and vault and then patiently waited the the results to be announced. All of individuals from school that found their way onto the medal podium, got a place in the finals and had to compete with other individuals who had made the podium.”


One of the toughest competitions we participate in, is the gymnastics event that is run each year. It is a difficult competition because each child has to perform an individual floor routine and vault. As you can imagine, this puts a lot of pressure on the children. The children worked really hard in preparation for the event, taking time outside of the normal school day to attend a club where they rehearsed their routines relentlessly. We couldn’t have been more proud of our children on the day who performed with such confidence and finesse. Well done to all of the children who took part- Natalia, Olivia, Lexi, Magnus, Jack, Sophie, Ethan, Holly, Jacob, Maya, Scarlett, Amelia, Annie, Emily and Evelyn. 

Following the event, 3 of the children qualified for the finals after finishing on the individual podium. Olivia, Annie and Natalia went along to the regional finals where they competed against children from a wider breadth across the school sports partnership. Once again, they did us proud! Well done girls! Both events were topped off by getting to see a floor show from Team GB gymnast Alisha Evanson, she was incredible! 

Maya reports, “I was in the team event so everyone in my team had our own scores and they got added up to make a final score. We came 3rd as a team which is really good. We also saw a gymnast that is in Team GB. She did some tumbling on the trampoline, she was amazing! We also took part in a team workshop on the day.”


On Friday 8th March, we took part in the Biggest Girls Football Event that is organised as part of the Let Girls Play initiative. On the day, a group of 4 Year 3/4 girls attended a celebration event where they participated in a variety of skills activities linked to football. 

They thoroughly enjoyed the event and represented Kingsmead brilliantly taking part in all the activities with enthusiasm and engagement. Well done to all the girls who attended that event.

On the same day, some children took part in two virtual challenges as part of a competition, this included counting how many nutmegs and kick and catches they could complete in 60 seconds. Again, the children took part with enthusiasm and had great fun completing these challenges. Watch out Lionesses!

Extra Curricular Activities

Outside of school

The school day doesn't stop for some of our children, with many children joining in with a range of extra curricular activities. 

Olivia reports on the Cinderella in Hollywood

Cinderella In Hollywood was being performed by the English Youth Ballet Company and I applied to take part. I had to do an audition which was very enjoyable and I found out on the night that I had got offered a place. I was very excited as the show was at the Manchester Opera House, which is a huge theatre. Rehearsals were hard work, in total I did sixteen hours of ballet every weekend for four weeks (I couldn’t feel my toes). The shows were amazing and lots of fun, I also made lots of new friends. This experience has taught me a lot and I can’t wait to do another one.

Harper reports on the APEX Cheerleading team's recent competition

I did three enteries with Apex Cheer.  I did level 1 Juniors, level 2 and in my stunt team level 2.  I was at the competition in Birmingham for 5 hours but it was worth it.  Level 1 was first then we got a little break before warming up for the stunt team and Junior level 2.  The Juniors level 2 placed 3rd and the level 1 team came first.  You can see a picture of me doing a single leg with my stunt team.  I really like my stunt team as they always catch me.  

Amazing Alumni

Celebrating our past pupils

This term we are proud to present Freddie Medland.

Previous Headteacher - Ms Stewart

On 25th February I headed over to the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall for a concert. What made this concert so special though was that one of Kingsmead’s ex pupils, was playing in the Liverpool Phil Youth Orchestra. And this particular concert was being conducted by no less than Sir Simon Rattle! Simon Rattle is one of the most famous conductors on the planet, he’s conducted the Berlin Philharmonic and more recently the London Symphony Orchestra. Like ex Kingsmeader, Freddie Medland, Sir Simon attended a state school and like Freddie, he’d been part of the Youth Orchestra on Merseyside where he began as a percussionist before taking on conducting.

Freddie towers over me these days, now 17 he is studying Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics at Sir John Deane’s. Freddie’s interest in Music began at Kingsmead where he took up the recorder in year 3, violin in year 4 and in year 5 was offered the chance to learn the oboe through an endangered instrument scholarship. Lessons on endangered instruments were provided in school through Edsential Music Service for children who showed the magic combination of interest and willingness to work hard. Freddie is one of the impressive number of Kingsmead students who’ve gone on to perform with ensembles like the Cheshire Youth Orchestra and Wind Band, the Hallé choir and Youth Orchestra and the National and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestras at places like the Philharmonic and Bridgewater Halls and The BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in London. He is a special and talented past student but is not unique and I very much hope I’ll be hearing of and attending concerts of Kingsmead musicians well into my dotage.

Freddie’s GCSEs, his A levels and many Music examinations (like his year 6 SAT) receive a measure, a score. These may open doors, providing opportunities for wider choices in life. But perhaps the stuff that we most remember in life, the stuff that makes our life a good one and matters most to us, isn’t that which has been given a score or quantified in the same way. What we learn and can do is so much more than any measure of it; it isn’t the grade we get but what we do with our learning that brings the joy, makes the memories.

I was at Kingsmead for nineteen years and one of the best things about hanging about so long was seeing how our children turned out; overwhelmingly wonderfully as it happens! I have talked with so many ex pupils, many whose eyes have lit up recalling an experience where they, as an individual or as part of a group, had a chance to make work of which they were truly proud, work which moved them, which made a memory to last a lifetime. Very often this was a result of something provided through their Arts education. 

Thank you Freddie and Sir Simon for a cracking concert.