W/E  14th December 2018

After the longest of terms, and with their last ounce of energy spent on the disco floor last night at the Year 8 Dinner Dance, our incredible Staff are certainly ready to release your children back to you for a while to allow for a spell of recharging.

Our final week has been simply magical, with childish laughter abounding.  Well done to you, the children, for making Vinehall such a rich and pleasurable community in which to belong.

Happy Christmas!

W/E  7th December 2018

With Advent calendars scattered throughout the Boarding House and much talk of a chocolate surprise each morning, I spoke about the lead-up to Christmas as a time of preparation in this week’s assembly.  My themes predictably return to personal values and I lingered on the need for peace in our hearts, for kindness to all and for charity to those in need at this time of year.

I am now delighted to announce that Miss Alice Roberts will be joining us for next term to cover Debbie Gearey’s English teaching.  Alice has recently been Acting Head of English at Ardingly Prep on her return from living and teaching in Qatar.  She is a first-class English practitioner and I know will rapidly become a favourite amongst the children.  In April, we will then be welcoming Mr Kornel Kossuth as our new Head of English.  Kornel has been the Head of English and Head of Scholars at Saint Ronan’s for the past eight years and will bring with him a deep understanding and a wealth of inspiration for English teaching and learning.

I look forward to seeing you all at our highly cherished Carol Service at Salehurst on Saturday.  Your children are bursting with good cheer – as always!

W/E 30th November 2018

The Tempest seems to have blown now for a Twelfth Night; however, it did not keep the theatre goers from enjoying the most memorable of Elizabethan Soirées this week.  How truly remarkable it was to see Shakespeare performed with such confidence and fluency on a Prep School stage.  Thank you Mrs Alderson!

Neither have the gales prevented our sports teams from playing, or our evacuees from baking, or our gymnasts from competing or our dancers from performing.  It has been a courageous week all round and there should be some mighty tired, yet thoroughly fulfilled children returning home.

I look forward to seeing you all next Saturday for the Carol Service.

W/E 23rd November 2018

Although relatively young at 80 years of age, Vinehall’s traditional values are thoroughly embedded in the oldest of Vines I had the pleasure to meet at the reunion last week.  Their tales of way back when and their deep gratitude for the friendships and opportunities offered to them was inspiring.

On my return, I delved into the school archives to unearth the mission statement for the school from the 1950s to discover how true we have remained to the original purpose, aims and values of Vinehall.  I am extremely pleased to conclude that the emphasis on life skills and resilience of mind remains; and I leave you with a couple of charming excerpts:

‘One aim of the school, constantly borne in mind, is to produce a manly and self-reliant outlook, with interests and hobbies to occupy leisure time’.

‘Outdoor jobs, including minor building and creative work about the grounds, are fitted in from time to time.  Boys are encouraged to cultivate gardens if they wish.’

W/E 16th November 2018

The traditional values of kindness and tolerance to others have been explored this week, with a hugely effective ‘odd sock’ day to complete our anti-bullying focus.  Thank you to all the children (and staff) for joining together as a community to emphasise this message.

As this edition of Vinelines goes to print, I will be heading up to our 80th Anniversary Vines Reunion in London.  Surely no prep school has a stronger alumni network than ours, with fully supported event after event.  I thank David and Sally Chaplin, Malcolm Gordon, Geoffrey Whitehead, Lorna Lambourne and Hannah Sassone for continuing these remarkable ties over the decades.

Nigel Hamley, also 80 this year, wrote to us from Australia to wish us well and to thank Vinehall for an exceptional start in life.  I wonder if some of our children would like to volunteer to write back to him?

W/E 9th November 2018

The traditional values of kindness and tolerance to others have been explored this week, with a hugely effective ‘odd sock’ day to complete our anti-bullying focus.  Thank you to all the children (and staff) for joining together as a community to emphasise this message.

As this edition of Vinelines goes to print, I will be heading up to our 80th Anniversary Vines Reunion in London.  Surely no prep school has a stronger alumni network than ours, with fully supported event after event.  I thank David and Sally Chaplin, Malcolm Gordon, Geoffrey Whitehead, Lorna Lambourne and Hannah Sassone for continuing these remarkable ties over the decades.

Nigel Hamley, also 80 this year, wrote to us from Australia to wish us well and to thank Vinehall for an exceptional start in life.  I wonder if some of our children would like to volunteer to write back to him?

W/E 9th November 2018

Welcome back to a second half of term and I hope you all had a wonderful two weeks with your children.

With the Year 8s returning to their practice exams, we spoke about resilience as we gathered together on Monday morning and of course many of the younger children joked that they had also shown great resilience in dragging themselves back to school!

We gathered again as a school for our Remembrance service.  The Year 8s led the service with poise, respect and great courage and I would like to thank our guest speaker, Father Michael Brydon, for his creative and wise message on this the 100th anniversary of the war to end all wars.  I would also like to thank Tracey Konyu for facilitating the most beautiful and moving display of ceramic poppies.

Finally, I look forward to seeing many of you out this evening for the fireworks display (and the disco if you feel brave enough).  Thank you FoV and all those supporting such events from behind the scenes.  The children are incredibly fortunate.


W/E 19th October

As the first half of term comes to a close, there is no doubt that all involved with Vinehall are ready for a well-deserved break. The children have conducted themselves wonderfully over the past two months, with a positive and courageous appetite for the opportunities and challenges provided for them here.  With the many new academic and pastoral developments this year, the children have had to adjust, but adapt and thrive they have.

I look forward to seeing the whole community together again at the Fireworks on the 9th November.

W/E 12th October

As the first half of term comes to a close, there is no doubt that all involved with Vinehall are ready for a well-deserved break. The children have conducted themselves wonderfully over the past two months, with a positive and courageous appetite for the opportunities and challenges provided for them here.  With the many new academic and pastoral developments this year, the children have had to adjust, but adapt and thrive they have.

I look forward to seeing the whole community together again at the Fireworks on the 9th November.

W/E 21st September

With the theme of the week encouraging the children to ‘Be Inquisitive’ both in and outside the classroom, there seemed more opportunity for excitement and curiosity than ever over the past few days.   From river walks to tricky opponents; art trips to travelling book fairs; maths challenges to swimming galas. There was even plenty for the parents…with reading talks and academic developments.  Something for all in the diary which has kept the community engaged and together.

W/E 14th September

Despite being an extremely difficult week for the Vinehall community outside, nothing has changed in the busy and diverse lives of your children here.  I know that what you read in this week’s Vinelines will come as a welcome distraction and help to bring us all back to focussing on what we do so well; putting the children’s happiness at the centre of all that we do. They are our purpose and they are our inspiration.

W/E 7th September

The blend of excitement and apprehension on a first day of a school year will ever inspire.  Such high emotions, insatiable energies and unifying camaraderie.  The children’s return has been a sensation and I know that once the apprehension has settled, the excitement will prevail, allowing for limitless opportunities to be seized.

Whilst the children are listing what is new to them this 80th Vinehall year, I have urged them to approach such change with an open mind, a ‘have a go’ attitude and an awareness of how they can support others who find new starts more challenging.  Pro alis optimum agere is a timeless message and very much still at the heart of all that we stand for 80 years on.