Monday 31 October 2011


This morning in assembly we looked at the Hindu festival, Diwali - also known as 'The Festival of Lights'.

Light shining in the darkness.
Light takes away the darkness.
Light brings hope.

Having lit a number of 'diwas' the story of Rama and Sita was told.

Diwali celebrates the return of Rama and Sita, in the story from the Ramayana. The story shows how good wins over evil...

Prince Rama and his wife, Sita, are banished from their home in Ayodhya by their father the King. Rama's brother, Lakshmana, goes with them to live in a forest. They are banished for fourteen years.

After many happy years, Sita is kidnapped by the ten-headed demon Ravana. He takes Sita to his island of Lanka. With the help of the monkey warrior, Hanuman, Rama rescues his wife.

The people of Ayodhya light divas (oil lamps) in rows to guide Rama and Sita back from the forest to Ayodhya. On their return Rama is crowned king.

People light hundreds of small oil lamps (called diwas) They place them around the home, in courtyards and in gardens, as well as on roof-tops and outer walls. This is to commemorate the part of the story that describes oil lamps being placed outside people’s homes to light the way for Rama and Sitas triumphant homecoming to Ayodhya.

The more lamps they light, the more likely it is that Lakshmi (the Hindu goddess of ealth and prosperity) will be tempted to visit them. Hindus believe that the goddess brings wealth with her when she visits.

What happens during Diwali?

Gifts are exchanged - often sweets or candles. Cards are sent, homes are decorated and oil lamps are lit. Fireworks are another big part of the celebrations.

In the evening, many people hold a small prayer (puja) in their homes. They honour Ganesh, the god of wisdom and good luck, the one who removes all obstacles from life. They worship Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and good fortune.

Lights are left burning all night, so that Lakshmi may feel welcomed and enter.

Friday 21 October 2011

Sponsored Swim

This afternoon Blue Class took part in WWF's Blue Mile sponsored swim. The pool was divided into five lanes and the children worked in teams in a relay, taking it in turns to complete a length, before handing over to the next swimmer. The aim was to collectively swim a minimum of a mile in 30 minutes.

Everyone worked really hard and we finished the half-hour session, clocking up a total of 464 lengths in all, which is the equivalent of 5.8 miles!

Well done to everyone who took part and a big thank you to everyone who sponsored us. We will update this post, when all the money has been collected, with our grand total.

Writer of the Week

Wall of Fame

Monday 17 October 2011


Today in assembly we looked at the Jewish festival of Sukkot. Sukkot commemorates the years that the Jews spent in the desert after their escape from Egypt. Some lived in tents whilst others built huts out of leaves and branches. These huts were called sukkot (plural).

During the festival, some Jews build their own sukkah (singular) in the garden or at the synagogue. Jews eat their meals in the sukkah for the eight or nine days of the festival. They will also talk, sing, tell stories and even sleep in the sukkah. The sukkah can be nicely decorated with candles and fruit and some people even hang pictures and decorations on the walls.

There are rules to making the sukkah. Each sukkah must have at least three walls. The roof of the sukkah must be made of material referred to as sekhakh, which means "covering." The 'covering' must be something that grew from the ground and was cut off, such as tree branches, corn stalks, bamboo reeds or sticks. Sekhakh (the roof covering) should be sparse and left loose enough so that the stars can be seen.

There is a special Sukkot service in the synagogue. Everyone holds branches from three trees in their hands and a citron fruit in their right. They walk around the synagogue seven times, waving the branches.Sukkot is similar to the Christian festival of Harvest, where people thank God for looking after them.

During break and lunch time, some children decided to make their own sukkah...

Friday 14 October 2011

A Trip to the Cinema

This morning, the whole school boarded two coaches and set off for Cineworld, Bury St. Edmunds. Having received free tickets to see 'The Zookeeper' via Film Education's National Schools' Week, everyone was in high spirits.
For many children, this was their first visit to the cinema, and it turned out to be a fantastic film. Most reviews do not appear to do this justice as the children laughed out loud at the antics of the animals and the 'unlucky in love' zookeeper, Griffin. Harsh old cynics like myself could see the way that the film was going and it was a delight for Griffin to finally realise that the girl of his dreams actually wasn't, in fact she was right by his side all along. The underlying messages of telling the truth, the importance of true friendship and being yourself (not what others want you to be) are quite subtle and refreshing.
The children were absolutely brilliant. It was time for the journey home...
Halfway through the return journey, one of the coaches developed a mechanical problem, reducing its speed to 25mph. Not good. Having pulled over into a lay by on the A14, the police were called who did a tremendous job in escorting us to the nearest service station. Whilst one coach returned to school for their 'cinema meal' the other coach ended up dining out in style at Burger King! It certainly was a birthday to remember for one young girl.

With the arrival of a replacement coach, we continued our journey back to Earl Soham. What an interesting day it had been. The children are to be highly congratulated, and thanked, for their behaviour during such 'interesting' circumstances. They've certainly got plenty to write about!

Thursday 13 October 2011

Black History Month - Sporting Heroes

This morning in assembly, we looked at the achievements of three 'sporting heroes' - one who the children were able to instantly recognise, the other two not so easily recognisable.
First was Lewis Hamilton. Lewis was the first person with black heritage to become a Formula 1 racing driver. In 2008, aged just 23, Lewis Hamilton became the sport's youngest ever world champion - a fantastic achievement for the only F1 driver with black heritage.
Second was Tessa Sanderson, international javelin thrower. When she won the gold medal in the 1984 Olympic Games, she became the first British black woman to stand at the very top of the podium. She is also only the 2nd female athlete to compete in six Olympics. For her Olympic gold, charity work and services to Sport England; Tessa Sanderson has received an MBE. OBE and CBE.

Finally, came Viv Anderson. None of the children had heard of him, but I do remember watching him play football during a distinguished career where he played for Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Manchester United. Famously, in 1979, he was the first black person to represent England in a full international. He paved the way for many other black players such as John Barnes, Des Walker, Rio Ferdinand and Darren Bent.The inspirational commitment and efforts of these three sports' stars, along with many others, have shown that barriers which were once in place can be overcome and that everyone can achieve their potential.

Small Schools' Netball Tournament

With some degree of trepidation, the Earl Soham Netball team arrived at Stradbroke for their first competition of the year, and for some of them their first match ever.

They needn’t have worried as they got off to a flying start, beating Dennington 2-0, followed by more success against Wetheringsett and Helmingham, 4 -0 and 4-1 respectively.

The crunch came in the final game of the round robin, versus Easton, as both teams hadn’t yet lost a match. The final score in this very exciting, crucial game finished in a 3-3 draw. Thus both teams finished the round robin on equal points but Easton just pipped Earl Soham for the trophy on goal difference.

All the players are to be congratulated on their performances, and it was a huge achievement to only concede 4 goals in 4 matches. Well done everyone – not forgetting coach Jennie and the loyal band of parental supporters.

Small Schools' Football Tournament

Two Earl Soham teams travelled to Stradbroke for the annual small schools' football tournament. It was a great achievement to be able to enter two teams for the first time ever and all involved should be rightly pleased with their efforts. One team managed to finish 6th (Played 7, Won 1, Drew 2, Lost 4) whilst the other tam finished 3rd (Won 4, Drew 1, Lost 2). Hopefully, this effort and commitment will continue on to next week's 7-a-side fixture at Melton


Yesterday, we were joined by Helen Evans, producer of fantastic children's television show 'Art Attack'. In preparation of a screening of 'Shaun the Sheep' at Wingfield Barns, she is visiting local primary schools to engage the children in various 'sheep making' activities to use as props and background for the event on 28th October.The children had a great time and were able to produce some wonderfully creative sheep!

Monday 10 October 2011

Yom Kippur - The Day of Atonement

This morning in assembly, we looked at the Jewish festival of Yom Kippur, which took place on October 7th and 8th. This is a very special festiva; for Jews all around the world. It is a day of atonement when Jews ask for forgiveness from God for any bad things that they might have done in the year gone by. It is a fasting day which lasts from sunset to sunset.
In the days leading up to Yom Kippur, Jews will apologise to people they might have upset or hurt. Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for Jews, during which they will fast for 25 hours. Jews do not touch water or food and some will not wear symbols of luxury to remember those who are suffering in the world. Jews will also send friends and family greeting cards.The children gave suggestions of what they could 'give up' for 25 hours, including: playing on computers, watching television and washing. Interestingly, what they felt that they couldn't give up were: eating, drinking, talking and playing with their toys.
During Yom Kippur, the Ark and reading desk in a synnagogue are covered in a white cloth to symbolise purity and cleanliness.
At the end of the final service, a single blast from the shofar shows that the fasting is over and forgiveness has come.