HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was greeted by hundreds of children waving flags when she arrived at Roundhill Primary School in Southdown earlier today.
The Duchess, Patron of local charity St John’s Foundation, is passionate about improving oracy and literacy in children – something which chimes well with St John’s own vision of building a community where every child from birth to 12 years old is supported to grow into a healthy, happy, and educated adult.
To help realise this vision, St John’s has teamed up with seven primary schools in BANES that have the highest proportions of pupils eligible for Pupil Premium funding, to provide additional support with foundational reading, writing, oracy, and mathematics -as well as emotional support. And the pupils at Roundhill were keen to show her just how much they were enjoying their new-found skills:
After being greeted by the Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Mrs Annie Maw, The Duchess was then introduced to St John’s Chief Exec, David Hobdey, and Executive Director, Louise Harvey. Roundhill’s Head Teacher Sue Adams then proudly led the party off on a tour of her school, taking in a variety of different year groups:
First up, The Duchess visited Sunbeam’s Early Years classroom where three-year-old pupils receive oracy support through ‘Language for Life’. The Language for Life project supports pre-school children to reach their age-related expectations in communication and language development before moving on to their Reception Class. The intervention came about through a collaboration between St John’s, HCRG, and BaNES Council.
CEO of St John’s Foundation, David Hobdey, said “it’s wonderful for me to see one of our initiatives in action and how engaged the young children are. These are such important life skills for children to have and we must do all we can to ensure no children, in BANES slip through the net”
Next, The Duchess oversaw the planting of a young Silver Birch tree as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, set up to honour her 70 years on the throne. The initiative aims to increase and protect native tree cover UK-wide and the ten-year-olds in Roundhill’s Eco Team are already budding environmentalists in the making! The tree was donated by Bath and North East Somerset Council as part of their tree donation initiative with schools.
Ensuring The Duchess got a broad overview of the school’s activities, the next focus was on the school’s eight-to-ten-year-olds. A small reading group were found in the Owl Reading Room, and, in the library, children were creating their own books. A fruit smoothie-making class, followed by a White Rose Maths activities class brought the tour of the classrooms to a close.
Just before HRH unveiled a plaque to commemorate her visit to the school, she was treated to a short performance of ‘We Are Proud of Our School’, a new song learned especially for the occasion, from pupils aged five to eleven.
Commenting on the visit, Sue Adams, said
“We are thrilled that The Duchess chose to visit us here at Roundhill and see what a wonderful school it is. The children here are at the heart of every decision we make to ensure that they are happy and confident and that the learning experiences provided are relevant to their needs both now and in the future.”