October's Monthly Newsletter

Welcome to Kensington's October newsletter edition of the academic year 2021/22


Thankfully school life is, step-by-step, returning to normal as can be clearly seen by the many activities reported upon in this newsletter.

Face masks indoors are likely to required for some months but I am hopeful that the restrictions on the use of masks outside may be eased in the coming months. Relaxation of the secure group system (bubbles) would also be of benefit but, of course, everything depends on the evolution of the virus. The safe operation of our school cannot be compromised and we will continue to apply our successful policy of erring on the side of caution. This has, thus far, resulted in relatively minor disruption to teaching for well over a year now, especially when compared to other similar settings.

We are constantly looking at ways to make the learning of our pupils, both in the classroom and at home, more effective and 'smart'. To this end we have just enjoyed a fourth visit from Tricia Taylor, an expert in cognitive processes, to Kensington. She led training sessions with all our teachers to ensure that they remain fully up-to-date with the latest research findings. Students continue to find her workshops stimulating and helpful and the twilight remote presentation to families was very well received. We look forward to future visits from Tricia since she is clearly having a positive impact on our core aim of developing, to the full, the learning potential of our pupils.

To succeed at school one needs to keep a sense of balance and perspective. Academic work is an important priority but personal stress can build up unless study is part of a healthy and varied lifestyle. Effective learning is enhanced by feeling comfortable and secure. Ms Williams, in her counselling role, is offering our secondary students lunchtime workshops focusing upon such issues as coping with academic pressure, exam anxiety and managing social pressure. We are keen to support our students in any way we can and our thriving tutorial system is testament to belief in the importance of pastoral care to support academic progress.

Outside the classroom October has been such a delightfully busy month, with so much enjoyable and purposeful activity taking place. The Forest School is quickly becoming established at Key Stage 2 as a splendid way of acquiring new skills and knowledge in an outdoor environment. We are so lucky to live in such a vibrant city and we continue to introduce our pupils to local attractions with the Junior School visiting the Boqueria market and Gaudi's Parc Guell. Ms Lewis has arranged a varied and fascinating programme of visits to local art galleries and exhibitions.

In both Junior and Senior Schools house competitions have recommenced. Mr Vanderhayden and Mr Hinchliffe have begun to offer outdoor after-school clubs based on bubble groups; we very much hope to resume our normal club programme as soon as regulations allow for secure groups to be mixed outside without masks.

The Ski Trip, led by Mr Kelly, is now being arranged for next February and we hope that many students will enrol for this traditional Kensington expedition. We are also encouraging senior pupils to sign-up for the Kensington Award; an in-house version of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award which requires youngsters to exhibit determination and initiative across a range of four disciplines, voluntary service to the community, personal project, expedition and physical activity.

Our three main student committees – Charity Committee, Eco Committee and Student Voice – are now meeting regularly and have developed sensible and imaginative plans for this school year.

The first half of term ended on a high note with the Halloween celebrations, this year with an eco-friendly focus. Competitions were arranged for themed costumes and our second annual carved pumpkin challenge attracted some wonderfully creative entries. In contrast to all the excitement outside there was a book fair in the gym which gave an added dimension to the day. Our thanks to Ms Hewitt for making all these events possible.

Afternoon assemblies for all, reflecting upon and celebrating the achievements of the past six weeks, such as National Poetry Day, fittingly brought the first half of term to a close before everyone left in good spirits to enjoy a thoroughly deserved half-term break.

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October is always a busy month in the Junior School and this year has been no different; with the curriculum in full swing, it has been particularly pleasing to see the return of so many excursions taking place outside school, many of which were simply not possible last year.

In the last few weeks, several classes have had the opportunity to experience some of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks to further their learning; the Early Years visited the historic La Boqueria food market, enjoying the sights, smells and of course tastes of a guided tour around the famous food stalls. Many thanks to Mr Dominguez for making this experience possible and so exciting for the Early Years.

J1 are learning about Barcelona’s famous architect Antoni Gaudí and have been able to see some of his masterpieces first hand, with visits to the Dragon Gate in Pedralbes and Park Guell. J2, meanwhile, had the fantastic experience of visiting the lighthouse in Vilanova i La Geltrú, which allowed the students to immerse themselves in scenes from their class book, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch. It also gave them some ideas to answer the key question: how could Mr Grinling keep his sandwiches safe from those seagulls?!

Despite the weather turning more autumnal, our J3 and J4 pupils have remained as enthusiastic as ever in their Forest School excursions, returning with smiles and new skills acquired each week.

Finally, the month of October cannot pass without the celebration of our ever popular Halloween day at school. This year’s eco theme twist did not deter the pupils from producing some wonderful handmade and reused costumes and the 2nd Annual Kensington Pumpkin Carving Competition was another highlight; thanks to Ms Hewitt for organising this. After a busy month, I would like to wish students and parents alike a well deserved half term break.

National Poetry Day

National Poetry Day this year was not just a roaring success: it was a howling, laughing, crying, surprisingly varied and fun event.

Juniors and seniors were invited to participate in our recital competition, and the range of entries (especially from J4, J5 and 6) was broader than in any previous year.

This year’s theme was CHOICE, and the judges were certainly spoiled for it as they had to pick winners and runners up from a wonderfully wide selection.

How we celebrated the day...

On the day itself, class groups enjoyed watching some of the best choices from our recital competition, and then the games began!

Form 5 English students created bewitching poems using words from Lady Macbeth’s dark soliloquy.

Upper 6 poetry students took a walk in a local park and allowed inspiration from nature to flow. They used their current study of Victorian Heritage poet Christina Rossetti to shape sonnets, villanelles and poems infused with the poet’s unique voice. Some of these brilliant pieces are included here

Those students in Lower 6 played “Haikus” in which words are chosen from a dictionary at random, and a 3-line, 17-syllable poem is formed. Apart from the theme of “Choice”, they also played with and formed poetry with the single word “No”. You can enjoy some of their work here:

The French Department did themselves proud with original compositions based on such diverse themes as “Red Riding Hood’s Bad Choice” and “Les Laveurs des Vitres” (which for non-francophiles is the Windscreen Cleaners). This latter composition explored the choice each of us has whether or not to roll down our car windows. Their creative and thought-provoking videos and poems can be seen here:

As he does every year, Mr Vanderheyden penned and performed an original piece on the Choice theme which was warmly received by all the students across the senior school

In the Junior School, the Friday assembly was dedicated to National Poetry Day. We discussed what poetry IS, and then heard a series of live recitals. Of the many Junior School students who entered the competition, a shortlist was created as we sought to choose the winners.

And the winners are…

In the Junior School:

The use of an acrostic as a structure for a poem was the inspiration for our worthy Junior winner, TIANSA from Junior 5, with her poem "Snowman's Choice". You can watch her fun and clever video recital below.

And the other Junior winner was DAVID from Junior 6 with a brilliant performance of his poem, "The King's Decision", also self-penned, which is included below.

In the Senior School our two winners also wrote and filmed their own compositions.

Our runner-up was Apple in Form 4, who produced a marvellous four-stanza piece entitled "Choice", which you can watch here:

And, finally, one of our newest students created an outstanding epic poem titled “A Braid of Two Eternities”, which truly left the judges and students in awe. Teresa wrote the poem herself, a mythological tale inspired by the work of Holly Black and Erin Morgenstein, and explaining the tragic love story of Time and Fate. Teresa is therefore now promoted to Kensington School’s Poet Laureateship, and we hope she continues crafting such beautiful pieces. Congratulations!

You can see her performance below.

Once again, Kensington School's whole school body united to create a fun and poetic day for everyone, despite the many Covid restrictions. We hope one day to return to the traditional Poetry Slam in the theatre. For now, however, we feel proud to have honoured all things poetry-related in an excellent homage to our exceptional literary heritage!

Go in rhyme … all the time!


This month has been fun packed in Early Years. Children visited the Boqueria market where Benjamin took great care of the class. He gave them some chestnuts for their autumn topic and a pumpkin to get into the spirit of Halloween!


A fantastic trip with very well behaved Kensington School ambassadors. For Halloween the class all got dressed up in very spooky costumes...

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As part of their Geography work on the local area, the children in Junior 2 visited the Cervantes Park. They were learning how to use a compass and were able to locate themselves at different points on an aerial photograph of the park.


Students have been reading The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch and other stories by Ronda and David Armitage.

Junior 2 children visited the lighthouse at Vilanova and then had a guided tour of the harbour, learning about the different kinds of fishing boats.

They then went to the beach to play and have a paddle in the sea.


Junior 2 have been learning about the different food groups and eating the right amount from each to have a healthy diet.

They wrote their own recipes for a sandwich, making sure they included a protein and fruit or vegetable.

They then brought the ingredients and utensils to school and made their sandwich for their afternoon snack.



Junior 3 students had a visit from dentist Dr Edwin and his assistant Meritxell from the Ident clinic in Tona this month. During their visit they demonstrated on Ms Lucy with a plaque identifier, students then needed to put on special goggles to look at her teeth under a UVB light.

Dr Edwin talked about looking after our teeth and gave each child a dental care gift to take home. Students were left feeling very aware of the best techniques and practices necessary to optimise their mouths cleanliness!


The students in Junior 4 have been learning how to give and write instructions in Spanish. They have written the instructions of how to create a toy using recycled materials and have taught their classmates how to make it. Find attached a short video illustrating the project.

Junior Spanish

"Una carta, una sonrisa"

We all know about the eruption of volcano "Cumbre Vieja" in La Palma. Many families lost their homes and many children cannot attend school because the lava destroyed majority of their buildings. A teacher from Los llanos de Ariadne, in La Palma, shared a brilliant idea: To get 1,000 letters to be handed out to every child when they are able to go back to school, a letter showing them that other children care and send them good wishes.

Miss Joanna Gómez brought this idea to Kensington and the Spanish teachers worked with J4, J5 and J6 to write the letters. Here are some examples of the beautiful letters they wrote, which made us very proud of them.

Now, they are looking forward to getting replies!

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As we are coming to the end of the first half-term of this academic year, teachers have been busy assessing the progress their students are making and completing the half-term reports. We are all looking forward to discussing these reports at the upcoming parents’ evenings in November. These will continue to be via the online platform which proved to be quite a success last year.

This is also the time of year when our older students have to make decisions about their future after Kensington. This can be a very stressful time of year for them and I am sure they will take advantage of the Wellbeing Sessions Ms Williams is running in November. In these workshops she will be discussing useful strategies for coping with academic stress.

Being such a small school, organising trips and extra-curricular activities during the pandemic has been difficult. We are delighted that we have been able to start some after-school clubs whilst also maintaining our ‘bubbles’. We are also planning the return of the annual ski trip in February.

In addition to this, Mr Kelly has also announced to our Form 5 and Sixth Form students the introduction of the new Kensington Award.

I hope you enjoy reading more about this, along with other activities that have taken place this month in the Senior School, in this edition of our newsletter.


Form 1 has been working on the topic of Biographies. We have been reading the biographies of Laia Sainz, Gustavo Dudamel, Araceli Segarra and Miguel Hernández. As a result, they have done a group project where they have had to look for information about a famous person, make a poster and present it to the class.


Form 1 have been studying the Formal Elements of art and have especially enjoyed exploring colour. They carefully painted a colour wheel using poster paint, they also enthusiastically created their own Damien Hirst inspired Spin paintings and then made some wonderful and imaginative colour wheels for homework.

Well done Form 1!

Form 3 went on an exciting art trip this month to visit the World of Banksy immersive experience in Barcelona with Ms Lewis and Mademoiselle Thebault.

British artist Banksy is one of the leading figures in contemporary street art and Form 3 have been researching and creating their own stencils, inspired by the anonymous artist this term.

The exhibition was a unique immersive experience and the students were able to see over 200 of his wide range of works, gathered in one space, they enjoyed drawing and responding to the work on display on the guided tour.


Have you heard of the sport Tchoukball?

Taisiia in Form 2 has written a piece on Tchoukball, a fairly unknown sport amongst most people. But for those of you who don't know, you can see her piece below!


Last week one of our excellent IGCSE History students in Form 4 approached their History teacher Mr Mellon and asked if they could organise a debate that would then take place during a History lesson.

The student in question has a keen interest in current American politics and wanted to debate the successes and failures of the 44th American President - Barack Obama. As the class are currently studying the domestic and foreign policies of the 28th to the 32nd presidents (Wilson to Roosevelt between 1918 and 41) the motion for debate represented an interesting comparison between American governments past and present.

Julia and Pashmina carried out excellent research on the foreign and domestic policies of Obama's governments and produced a thoughtful and often heated debate. They also fielded perceptive questions at the end from their classmates and we made the link back to the presidents of the 1920s and 1930s that we are currently studying.

Both Julia and Pashmina received commendation awards for their efforts. A big 'well done' to both!



As part of Form 5's GCSE course, students have been analysing and discussing the causes and effects of climate change.

Students wrote an article and made presentations in which they expressed their views on the topic, using a variety of new, technical vocabulary and challenging themselves with high level grammatical structures.

In our French lessons, we have been studying the environment and how to become a better citizen. This has been extremely interesting as we have also discussed what the school could do to reduce their carbon footprint. We had some ideas regarding transport, especially since most pupils come to school by car and unless this is strictly necessary, we should try to take advantage of Barcelona’s excellent transport system. Overall, this topic has been very informative and by raising awareness in a fun yet educational way, we have managed to change some of our damaging habits.

Chiara, Form 5


This year, an exciting development in the Maths Department is the full Further Maths A level that we have been able to offer to our lower sixth mathematicians. Whilst a qualification in further mathematics is rarely a requirement to enter a university course, it does give students an advantage in the application process.

Whilst we have always offered an AS in further maths to Upper 6 students we are delighted that this year six talented and dedicated mathematicians from the Lower Sixth have chosen to take up our offer to study the full A level.

The group have been studying complex numbers and matrices and will go on to learn about vectors, further calculus and series. This is a wonderful opportunity for mathematically minded students to explore concepts in further depth and complexity and will give them a head start in their chosen degree courses at university.

At the end of a unit on complex numbers, the students worked in pairs to produce beautifully presented answers to challenging exam questions, which they seemed to thoroughly enjoy.

We expect great things from this talented group!

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A Visit from: Tricia Taylor

Using the right language and thinking the right way with Tricia Taylor

In the final week before half term, Kensington school was delighted to welcome Tricia Taylor, educational consultant, as she paid her fourth visit to the school to talk to students, parents and teachers about how to learn smart!

Tricia is becoming a familiar face around the school and students now give her a warm welcome when they see her. Her metaphors of the "bucket", the "untidy wardrobe" and the "learning pit" have helped students and parents to understand how the brain works as it tries to learn new information. And her ideas about "retrieval practice", "spaced practice", "dual coding" and "thinking hard" have offered practical solutions to everyone about how to learn effectively.

After so many positive visits from Tricia, students are really beginning to get the message about how to organise their learning so they can retain more without having to put in more hours at their desks. In discussions with teachers, and when setting themselves targets during our target-setting season, students now regularly reference Tricia's ideas as ways of helping them to achieve their learning potential.

The remote session delivered to parents was also a great success, with Tricia focusing on how parents can help their children to achieve just by choosing the right words to encourage them (a handy tip: don't tell your child how clever they are; instead, praise them for how much effort they put in). There was great discussion among the parents who attended and the session really provided a space for people to air their thoughts about how to work well to support their children.

Finally, Tricia also did sessions with teachers about effective ways of delivering feedback to students about their strengths and areas for improvement. Again, the wealth of practical tips she gave us left everyone with something new to try.

As ever, Tricia's whirlwind visit left us all with new avenues to explore, new strategies to employ and new ways of thinking.

Thanks for inspiring us once again, Tricia!

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The Kensington Award

We are always looking for new and exciting opportunities to challenge our students, both inside and outside the classroom. The introduction of The Kensington Award is designed to do exactly that; challenge them in a number of ways, outside of their academic studies.

The award itself is similar to and based on the well known Duke of Edinburgh Award Programme, which runs in the UK and abroad. Students are challenged to commit to a physical activity, a skill and a volunteering programme for an extended period of time, showing dedication and determination in each of those areas. The culmination of the award is the opportunity to independently plan, organise and undertake an overnight, supervised expedition, with a group of peers. This will be done under the guidance of staff and all the necessary training and advice will be provided over the coming weeks and months.

We believe the benefits of participating in this award will be varied and far reaching; pupils will have the opportunity to forge new friendships, step outside their comfort zones, build confidence and self esteem and gain a host of new skills along the way. Whilst the award will also provide a noteworthy section on any future university or job applications, we hope pupils will also recognise the wide ranging benefits of participating and completing the award.

For this academic year, the Bronze Award is open to all students in Form 5 and the 6th Form. We are excited to be launching this project for the first time at Kensington and are particularly looking forward to seeing our pupils tackle and overcome the challenges that The Kensington Award will represent. It is not designed to be easy to achieve, but to paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, nothing worth achieving ever is.

Halloween at Kensington School

On Friday 29th October the school corridors were filled with students in spooky halloween themed fancy dress costumes. The school hosted several festivities for the day and parades for different age groups took place around the school.

We thought it would be difficult to surpass the spooktacular spectacle of last year's Halloween, yet we were proven severely wrong! This year's Halloween festivities were bigger and better than ever!

A whopping 53 pumpkins were carved in gruesome, ghastly and wildly creative designs, with our pumpkin patch the jewel of the Kensington front garden. It was so difficult to choose the winners that teachers, students and administrative staff were casting their votes rights up to the very last minute. In the end, the prizes went to Rafia (F4), David (J6) and Mark (F2) for their creepy carvings. Congratulations to them!

In addition to pumpkin artistry, classes across the school dressed up to celebrate the occasion, with the senior school students treating the juniors to a spine-chilling catwalk at break time. For the first time, every single class got into costume, imagination coursing through everyone's eco-friendly ensemble. Demons, ghouls and zombies alike marched ominously through the school - some making even the most impassive of teachers jump at the sight of them!

The senior school costume competition was hotly contested including entries from an army of nuns, a petrifying pack of pumpkins and a clutch of creepy dolls; however, F3 were declared the deserving winners for their dramatic take on "Marriage in the Underworld".

What a fantastically fearsome way to end the first half of the autumn term!


Next Monthly Newsletter Issue - Friday 26th November

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