While schools were forced to close during the lockdown period, Kitebrook Preparatory School in the Cotswolds brought their pupils together in distance learning classrooms, building on their education as they would have in school, while also encouraging the children to get involved with new and exciting projects.
16th July 2020 — One such project came from The Chipping Norton Theatre, while also physically closed, continued to reach out to theatre-goers and locals, launching ‘Speak as One’, an invitation for members of the public to write their own short audio play, creating a collage of voices from within the community.
Year 5 pupil Molly J. captivated the reader’s panel of award-winning playwrights, producers, actors and theatre-makers with her piece, Missing! which was chosen to be recorded by a team of professional actors and shared with audiences across the county, airing on BBC Radio Oxford and as part of the theatre’s newly launched podcast series.
Proud Kitebrook teacher Emily Scates said: “Molly is a fantastic creative writer and certainly a talent to watch. She has always enjoyed writing and acting and wrote a moving play for the Year 5 production and then took the initiative to enter a national competition, succeeding in her script, Missing!, becoming one of the 14 entries selected for production by The Chipping Norton Theatre. Molly has used lockdown to really hone a skill and we applaud her.”
While you are walking around Cheltenham this summer, look out for the town’s updated Interactive Hidden Trail. Cartoon character, Lucy, who guides visitors through local points of interest, is voiced by 8-year-old Kitebrook Preparatory pupil India D-W, who during lockdown managed to combine working on school projects with an exciting opportunity to perform as a voiceover artist.
9th July 2020 — Year 4 India, who was also part of The Stagecoach Performing Arts Global Guinness World Record in 2018, used her drama training to support this year's Augmented Reality (AR) enhancement to the Hidden Cheltenham Trail provided by The Cheltenham BID (Business Improvement District), with their endeavour to raise the profile of the businesses within the town.
Developed by marketing agency Red Lemon, in conjunction with Neil Morgan Design, the AR enhancement allows you to scan codes found on floor stickers placed around town to unlock local curiosities. Lucy, aka India, while also referencing new social distancing measures, relays historical information, fun facts and introduces interactive challenges and a competitive element.
India, who was delighted to be involved said: “I really enjoyed being Lucy as it was so much fun helping create a new character. I am excited to hear the end result and hope people enjoy listening to her along the trail.”
Kitebrook teacher Emma Norton said: “India is a mature, well-spoken pupil and we are delighted she took the initiative to use her time away from school so productively. The experience has really helped grow her confidence and we are incredibly proud to see her channelling interests into something so creative and beneficial for the community. A wonderful achievement.”
A ten-year-old Kitebrook Preparatory School pupil has achieved a school first by qualifying for the annual IAPS National Swimming Finals.
30th June 2020 — The extensive swimming competition involves 40 qualifying galas, organised throughout the spring term, which sees more than 400 Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) enter the competition. The fastest 1500 swimmers are invited to the national finals at the London Aquatics Centre at the end of the academic year.
Entering for the first time, Kitebrook took 13 children to the qualifying event at The Dragon School, Oxford, competing against some tough teams. Max H. represented Kitebrook in the U10 boys 25m freestyle race, achieving 18th place out of 118 swimmers, with a time of 16.08s. As the top 20 swimmers in each event qualify for the finals, under normal circumstances he would have joined his preparatory school peers from across the UK, for the final event at the 2012 Olympic swimming venue, supported by 3000 spectators. Due to the unprecedented circumstances, unfortunately the final is unable to be held this year. However, this does not detract from Max’s incredible success.
Head of PE, Anna Edgerton said: “Although it is disappointing that the Finals have not taken place, this is a huge achievement that Max should be extremely proud of—we certainly are here at Kitebrook! Our team will be keeping up the training and we look forward to going back next year.”
Kitebrook Preparatory School is celebrating incredible success at the Gloucestershire Schools Cross Country Championship, which resulted in two of their pupils progressing to represent the County at the 2020 English Schools’ National Cross Country Championship.
10th March 2020 — Representing the North Cotswolds Cross Country team, seven Kitebrook children travelled to Katherine Lady Berkeley’s School in Wotton-under-Edge, where they navigated the extremely muddy conditions in order to complete the 2km course.
All of the children ran superbly, achieving five medals between them, with exceptional achievements by 10-year-olds Bertie R. and Olivia R. Bertie had a great race, placing 8th, while Olivia reached pole position, coming 1st in the Year 4/5 Girls race, making her the best girl in her age group within the whole of Gloucestershire
Olivia and Bertie are now looking forward to attending the very prestigious National Primary Schools Cross country event at Prestwold Hall, Leicestershire, which is endorsed by England Athletics.
Head of Boys Sport at Kitebrook, Mrs Hughes, said: “This is a huge achievement for our pupils and we are incredibly proud of all of their enthusiasm and dedication. We couldn’t be more thrilled that Olivia and Bertie have progressed to the National Finals and we look forward to supporting them at Prestwold Hall.”
Tales of the Atlantic: The Seablings Return to Kitebrook
World record-holders and Gloucestershire siblings Anna, 25, and Cameron McLean, 32, visited the pupils from Kitebrook Preparatory School after successfully completing the Talisker Whisky Atlantic rowing challenge, travelling over 3,000 nautical miles from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, across to Antigua and Barbuda.
26th February 2020 — The rowing pair, who are also son and daughter of Kitebrook Headteacher Susan McLean, returned to the Cotswold school after visiting just prior to their Atlantic crossing. On their initial visit they brought in the two-person boat and kit they would need to take with them for their ocean crossing, giving the children the opportunity to gain an insight into the huge feat they were about the undertake. The industrious duo took on this extreme endurance challenge in support of UN Women UK, the UN organisation dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, with the aim to break any gender stereotypes by putting to the test what it truly means to be in the #sameboat.
On their return to Kitebrook, after completing the mammoth journey, they were able to share stories and pictures from their 43 day, 15 hour and 22 minute ‘epic adventure’. Regaling the children with how they overcame rocky boat conditions, enormous waves, acute seasickness and being circled by a tiger shark; they even had willing volunteers to come and taste some of the packet food they survived on and feel the many blisters on their hands! After being entranced by their progress the whole time they were away, their amazing account was a huge inspiration to all the boys and girls.
When asked if they were able to sum up their experience, Anna said: “It was totally unpredictable. You have no idea what you’re going to face out there. Never give up and follow your heart—we made it!”. Cameron concluded: “It was an epic adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat”.
Praise for two Kitebrook Preparatory School sisters who ran in Gloucestershire’s Cross Country Championships, with fantastic results.
20th January 2020 — Hannah, aged 8, and Olivia, aged 10, spent their new year taking part in the annual race through the grounds of Rendcomb College, near Cirencester. Treated to a course that includes river crossings, woodlands and hills, the girls had to immediately conquer a steep 500m elevation. Despite the muddy conditions and undulating course, Olivia placed individual 2nd, Hannah individual 14th, and their running club, Bourton Roadrunners, finishing overall 3rd.
Both girls competed with the U11’s, an exceptionally tough race category, up against top runners from across Gloucestershire, and particularly so for Hannah, who was racing girls up to 3 years her senior.
Race spectator and Kitebrook teacher Mrs Scates said: “The girls performed exceptionally well, with their dedication to regular training clearly paying off. They should be immensely proud of their resilience, perseverance and stamina; as we all are here at Kitebrook.”