Lower School Prize Giving was a wonderful opportunity for parents, pupils and staff to gather together and celebrate a year of exciting changes, alongside the wide-ranging achievements of Lower School pupils.
The day, made more special by the wonderful weather, saw hundreds of parents gather to enjoy the speeches and the showcase of pupil work – with the Jerwoods classrooms, including the two new Lower 1 classrooms, filled with displays of work and activities from the past year. Parents and siblings particularly enjoyed the interactive elements of the displays – from science experiments to Computer Science games.
The Head of Lower School, Mr Adrian Morris, reflected on a year “that has embraced change in so many ways.” He outlined just some of these changes, including those made to the fabric of the Lower School; “the four Houses look stunning with redesigned and newly furnished common rooms and changing rooms”. He mentioned the newly dedicated team to the boarding provision, known affectionately as Hodges, the increased number of tutors, and the introduction of the Positive Learning code, centred on four key pillars: prepare, engage, respect and consolidate.
He described how the most notable change, the phasing in of the IB’s Middle Years Programme, is “now tangible - not least in the way we can all see the ten attributes of learning on the Jerwoods corridor, but more importantly hearing staff and pupils talk about the benefits of an inter-disciplinary approach and how they develop as learners from all subjects, whether, for example, as inquirers, thinkers or being open-minded.”
A variety of academic prizes were given out to pupils, along with the message from Mr Morris that “although we are acknowledging the winners today through prizes, all our pupils should reflect proudly on progress and development through the year; they have become more knowledgeable and continue to be reflective on their goals and targets.”
Prizes for the Total Curriculum ‘triangle’ were also awarded – in sport, music and drama. Notably, Mr Morris mentioned that he was “confident in saying that every child has represented Oakham in at least one fixture or event and, as you might expect and when you consider the number of tournaments we have done well in, some have played for their school over a 100 times.” He took the opportunity to commend the U13 girls for reaching the National Hockey Finals, the U12 boys for winning all 13 of their rugby fixtures and a number of runners for gaining gold after gold at recent athletic meetings.
Importantly, the day also celebrated and acknowledged the Lower School’s sense of community, with Mr Morris congratulating pupils on their “caring approach” and their charitable endeavours, as well as awarding prizes in this important area.
As always, but perhaps more so this year, Prize Giving is a time for ‘farewells’ with Form 2 pupils ‘graduating’ into Oakham’s Middle School. “Your talents and smiles will be missed and we look forward to seeing your potential continue to be realised in the future,” said Mr Morris. Another ‘farewell’ was given to Mr Lashbrook, retiring at the end of the term after 10 years of Headship. The Chair of Trustees, Neil Gorman, thanked Mr Lashbrook for his hard work and efforts over the years, and the Lower School pupils took the opportunity to bid their own, unique farewell by performing a specially choreographed tribute from The Greatest Showman.
After picnic lunches, families enjoyed an afternoon of sport, with pupils competing in Houses in Sports Day and showing their support with their newly created House flags.
The day culminated in the first night performance of the Lower School Production of The Adventures of Alice – the perfect end to a wonderful day!
To see more images of the event, view the photogallery.