Challenge. Cherish. Inspire.




Raising the (Green) Flag for Environmental Change at The Manor

June 2024

According to the Eco Schools programme, it is their experience that “educators and young people care deeply about environmental issues and have a strong desire to actively protect our planet.” This is certainly true at The Manor where a dedicated and passionate group of children who want to help the environment, spearheaded by equally passionate teachers, Mrs Gordon and Mrs Gillies, created Team Green.

Team Green has gone on to secure an annually awarded Eco-Schools Green Flag, with distinction, for The Manor. This prestigious accolade represents the culmination of a huge amount of hard work that a school must undertake to demonstrate its commitment to creating and maintaining an eco-friendly culture.

Attaining this accreditation is no mean feat! The Eco-Schools programme provides a seven-step framework which guides young people on how to tackle major environmental threats such as plastic pollution and biodiversity loss, in a way that is manageable and meaningful in their school and everyday lives. With the help of Team Green, Mrs Gordon and Mrs Gillies, worked through and evidenced actions to meet the framework which was later reviewed by an assessor from the Eco-Schools programme.

The review cited much praise, recognising the dedication and enthusiasm of Team Green, the good variety of curriculum links across year groups to ensure eco agendas span the school and the importance of young people taking ownership of change implementation.

It is also clear that engaging with such a programme has inspired progress:

You [The Manor] have educated, inspired, and empowered young people in your school, and they are now they’re carrying this passion into their homes and community, sharing it with friends and family.”

Accreditation not only acknowledges short-term change but encourages long term transformation through the provision of resources and support for staff throughout the year. The benefits of being involved in the Eco-Schools programme are vast with statistics demonstrating that teachers feel involvement increased pupils’ confidence and teamwork skills, as well as their understanding of the environment.

With increasing awareness of environmental challenges, it is great to see The Manor doing its bit and demonstrating forward thinking by engaging in the Eco-Schools programme and attaining the Green Flag award.

Moving from Prep School to Senior School: wise words from Year 7’s, Danny and Eve
May 2024

The transition from primary to senior school can be a daunting prospect for children as they leave the safety of a familiar educational environment and close friendship groups. It is however an exciting time too with the opportunity to take on fresh challenges and meet new peers.

Whilst there is plenty of support on offer, it can be interesting and comforting to hear the experiences of those who have been through the primary to senior school transition process. As Eve, an ex-Manor pupil who is finishing her first year at Headington Rye Oxford, says “It’s normal to feel nervous, but remember everyone is feeling exactly the same as you.” She continues to say:

“The first day is super fun, you meet your form tutor and your class, then do some activities with your form. You also do an activity to help you figure out where the different classes are, which is really helpful.

For the first week or so, it can feel a bit weird, but you will soon adjust to your new class. A great way to make new friends is to join clubs and after-school activities. You make some really good friends who are interested in the same things as you…

A good tip is not to do much at the weekend for the first couple of weeks, so you can catch up on sleep, and just be able to chill.”

Danny, also an ex-Manor pupil who is currently in Year 7 at Abingdon School, shares similar sentiments.

“When I left the Manor last year, it felt like it was time to move forward. The way Year 6 wrapped up was the best farewell: it gave us the greatest memories, after preparing us for the next stage of our education.

The actual first day at Abingdon School was not technically the first day. We were invited to join a sports camp a week before the official start date, where we all got to meet our future classmates and even break the ice with some of the teachers. It was like dipping our toes in the Abingdon School pool before cannonballing in the deep end. I immediately made new friends and was very happy to know some of them were in my class!”

Whilst Danny makes no pretence that the beginning of senior school can be overwhelming, he is clear that there is help and support to guide Year 7’s.

“As for the actual, actual first day, I have to say I never thought I’d have to run so much! I found myself sprinting down halls, trying to figure out where to go while looking at building and room numbers, all while dodging the gazes of the older years who found our ‘first-year sprints’ absolutely hysterical. The teachers were very friendly, but some were serious and made sure we knew it from Day 1.”

And how can parents prepare their children whilst they adjust to their new secondary school surroundings? Danny suggests the following:

“Here is my advice to you: help your children be more organized by reminding them to check their emails and schedules or planners. Tell them to write important things down and make sure they pack their bags the night before, not in the morning! I’m guilty of doing that, and it’s stressful for everyone!”

Sage words indeed. Feelings of apprehension are a normal response to change, the aforementioned tactics might help make each day a little smoother and ultimately each child and family will find what works for them.

And finally, an encouraging and empowering thought from Danny:

“…to the future Year 7’s, my top tip for you is to give yourself some time to get to grips with everything. Teachers have seen it all, and they don’t expect first years to know everything. You’re going to be alright.”


Nurturing Intrinsic Motivation in Children: The Key to Lifelong Success

Neil Jackson, Head of Years 5 & 6, March 2024

In the fast paced world of parenting and education, it’s easy to fall into the trap of relying on external rewards and incentives to motivate children. From stickers and sweets to grades and gifts, extrinsic motivators often take centre stage in shaping children’s behaviour and performance. However, beneath the surface lies a profound truth: intrinsic motivation reigns supreme in nurturing children’s long term growth and success.

Intrinsic motivation, the internal desire to engage in activities for their own sake, is a powerful force that fuels lifelong learning and fulfilment. As parents, educators, or caregivers, our role in nurturing intrinsic motivation is pivotal. Here’s why:

  • A Lasting Flame: Extrinsic rewards like treats or prizes might ignite a temporary spark of enthusiasm, but it’s intrinsic motivation that keeps the flame burning bright over a prolonged period of time. When children are driven by internal factors such as curiosity, passion and personal satisfaction, their motivation endures beyond the promise of external rewards.
  • Building Self-Efficacy: Intrinsic motivation fosters a sense of self-efficacy. When children pursue activities because they find them enjoyable or meaningful, they develop a deep seated confidence in their capabilities. This self belief becomes a sturdy foundation upon which they can tackle challenges and pursue their aspirations.
  • Fostering Creativity and Innovation: Unlike extrinsic motivators, intrinsic motivation encourages creativity and innovation. When children are driven by genuine interest and passion, they’re more likely to think outside the box, explore new ideas and take risks. This spirit of creativity is essential for navigating an ever evolving world and finding solutions to complex problems.
  • Intrinsic Satisfaction: The satisfaction derived from pursuing activities for their own sake is unmatched. Whether it’s delving into a favourite book, solving a challenging puzzle or mastering a musical instrument, the intrinsic joy of the process itself becomes its own reward. This deep sense of satisfaction fuels children’s ongoing engagement and commitment to their pursuits.
  • Promoting Autonomy and Growth: Intrinsic motivation thrives in environments that prioritise autonomy and personal growth. When children are given the freedom to explore their interests, make choices and set their own goals, they develop a sense of ownership over their learning journey. This autonomy not only cultivates intrinsic motivation but also nurtures essential life skills such as self regulation, resilience and adaptability.

While extrinsic rewards certainly have their place, they should be used sparingly and thoughtfully. By prioritising intrinsic motivation, we empower children to become self directed learners, creative thinkers and resilient individuals equipped to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and curiosity. So let’s nurture their inner drive, cultivate their passions and watch them soar to new heights of achievement and fulfilment. After all, the greatest rewards are those that come from within.

The Importance of Reading for Pleasure

Victoria Evans, Deputy Head Academic, February 2024

private school oxford

Reading is so important; it provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, allowing children to explore new worlds, cultures and ideas.

Beyond the pleasure it brings, the enjoyment of stories and books equips us all with a valuable tool – the ability to gain perspective. It allows us to step into the shoes of characters from diverse backgrounds, fostering empathy and understanding. In an increasingly interconnected world, the capacity to see things through others’ eyes is a skill that will serve your children well as they grow and navigate the complexities of the real world. 

It’s crucial that we prepare our children for that real world not just academically, but holistically. At The Manor, we aim to develop resilient, adaptable, and independent thinkers who are not only capable of assessing and directing their own learning but are also equipped to thrive in an ever-changing global landscape.

Independent and collaborative learning styles are both equally important. Independence in learning means empowering our children to ask questions, pursue their passions, and take real ownership of their education. It means teaching them how to research, analyse, and synthesise information effectively. This self-directed approach not only builds confidence but also instils a lifelong love of learning.

Collaboration, on the other hand, is similarly vital. In life, very few problems are solved in isolation. Teamwork and effective communication are skills which will be in high demand as your children enter the workforce of the future. Through group projects, debates, and extracurricular activities, we encourage the children to work together, learn from one another, and appreciate the strength of diverse perspectives.

Reading a range of books helps us all to develop our views and opinions and find the words to express them and is therefore of the utmost importance in both independent and collaborative learning.  So our advice is to read with your children, read to your children and enjoy discussing whatever topics you may bump into along the way; it’s a journey worth sharing!

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