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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Issue 16

Dear Parents,

I signed off, from afar, last week’s Bulletin which had been kindly authored by Mr Arnold and Mr Richards and a number of you have pointed out to me that it contained a right howler. We of course know that it was Captain Oates who uttered those poignant, generous words as he stepped out of the tent into the blizzard to provide a greater chance of survival for his friends and comrades; we have made good on our error with the boys in a Prep assembly this week. Mercifully, the very chilly weather alluded to last week seems to have been but a short, sharp stab at what we should normally experience at this time of year.

Our assembly programme is themed and this half term the broad theme for all pupils is the notion of ‘Friendship’. We will be looking at notions of ‘Leadership’ after the half term holiday. The boys in 5C this morning were a great help to us all as they have been considering the essential elements of friendship. They were able to conclude that kindness and friendship work hand in hand and I am very glad to have been reminded of this important link by them.

The Denmead Association have been kindly considering how they might spend some of the funds that you as parents have helped to raise over the last year or two. Mrs Dorey, Mrs Clayson and I met this morning and I was bowled over by the time and effort that had been put into coming up with a range of educational enrichment opportunities for all the pupils at the School that were put forward, which the Association is very happy to fund. My colleagues and I are aiming to consider these exciting events and establish how we might best weave them into our curriculum, and where. In the meantime do please accept our grateful thanks for this very generous support. Mrs Clayson in particular deserves a special thank you for trawling the internet, making phone calls, gathering together brochures and pamphlets and generally being an inspiration for us! There is an Annual General Meeting of the Denmead Association on Tuesday 9 February at 7.30pm in the Temporary Hall and I would urge you to lend your support to the Association by attending.

I am conscious that you will all be waiting to hear of the plans we have for the final push over the top, in order to get us into our magnificent new Prep building. I am aiming to write to you all the week commencing 8 February, when I will set out just exactly what the arrangements for settling us in will entail. If any parents have any questions relating to our move into the new building ahead of receiving that letter, do please get in touch and I will do my best to answer them.

In fact, there may be an opportunity for you to ask any such questions at the meeting we have convened for this evening, on the topic of our change of name. I hope to see plenty of you there. I’ll be the one in the suit of armour.

If I do not see you this evening, have a great weekend,

Tim Smith


Mr McCluskey, Games Department

Our week in sport at Denmead started on Saturday morning at St George’s Junior School in Weybridge. With Kingston Grammar interviews taking place at the same time, a special thank you has to be made to Daniel Edge, Thomas Yoxon, Zac Weightman-Dauda (Y5), and Jamie Wilson (Y5), for stepping in and playing for the Under 11 A and B teams. Perhaps the early morning start could be to blame, but the Under 11As could not claw back after a sluggish start, in a much improved second half display. The Under 11Bs had the performance of the morning however, running out 25-20 victors, showing the depth of talent in Year 6. Year 5 found the fixtures a tad more testing against teams that had played rugby all of last term, but this stern challenge held them in great stead when later in the week they secured their first victories of the term against Surbiton. I know that Mr Salt has been delighted with how the boys have bounced back and shown great effort in training. Tuesday saw all of Year 4 play against Newland House on Carlisle Park. Again, the strength in depth of this year group is quite remarkable, with Mr Ruse’s C team turning out the display of the day. It has been a measure of all Year groups at Denmead that the results and performances of the B, C, and D teams, have had a positive impact on how the A team progress. Mr Henderson braved the rain and wind with Year 3, to travel to Surbiton School in a triangular tournament with Ripley Court also. I am happy to report that even though the boys were drenched, the results came our way. One of particular note was the A team being three tries down to Ripley Court, only to come back with four of their own to grasp the win. The Under 11 A and B teams righted the wrongs of Saturday, on Wednesday afternoon, with two convincing performances against Surbiton. Even in the wind and rain, it was great to see both sides trying to challenge themselves by handling the ball. We are constantly impressing on all teams here at Denmead that the result comes secondary to the performance and the effort of the boys. The week ended with Under 9 fixtures against Surbiton again, and the progress in this Year group is easy to see, with the boys putting on a tremendous show for all the parents present and the Headmaster.

Last Sunday I was invited and wonderfully hosted by Twickenham Rugby Club to watch all of the Denmead boys in action against Wasps, and was most pleased to see another Denmead boy playing for the team in yellow and black. We had boys playing from Under 6 to Under 11, and the environment in which they are learning the fundamental skills was superb all morning. I am aware that we have boys playing at London Irish, London Welsh, Harlequins, and Teddington, to name just four clubs, and I would strongly recommend getting to your local club of whatever sport you fancy; whether it be football, cricket, hockey, basketball, or any of the other fantastic sports that can be played in this local area. From our perspective as a school, it gives continuity if Denmead boys play at the same club, but can also develop physical and social skills when the boys are placed in an environment that is

In assembly this week a Gold Star was awarded to Elijah Wilkinson (Y2) for writing a fantastic ‘alternative’ version of Little Red Riding Hood and using some adventurous story language, Alex Boxall(Y1) for trying really hard with Maths this week. Alex managed to order numbers to 20 in under 5 minutes!, Aron Drishti (Rec) for always making thoughtful contributions to our class discussions on many topics. The Courtesy Cup and Badge were awarded to Rory Walker (Y1) for his exemplary manners at all times. Well done to all those children!

It is very exciting to announce that two of our Year 2 pupils have landed roles in major forthcoming productions. Elijah Wilkinson will be performing at the Dominion Theatre in War of the Worlds, addBailey Sarpong will be appearing on the stage at the Royal Opera House. Congratulations – we are very proud of them!

On the Mathletics front this week Archie Duggan (Y1) received two bronze certificates, Monty James(Y2) received one bronze certificate and Arin Patel (Y1) received a bronze and a gold. Very well done to them all!

The girls and boys in Pre-Prep have been busy with the following this week –

The Kindergarten children have been reading the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. They have used their creative and critical thinking skills to build bridges using a variety if construction equipment. Puppets have been used to help act out the story and the children have also taken on  the roles themselves.  As predicted, the refrain’ Who’s that trip-trapping over my bridge?’, has been heard loud and clear from the sand tray, the puppet theatre, the home corner and the playground! The children have particularly enjoyed using the crates, wooden blocks and planks to build a variety of bridges and we have been impressed with their ability to review how well their plan is going and make necessary adjustments in order to use the bridge safely. We had fun making trolls out of clay and the end products were suitably terrifying! Next week, we look forward to celebrating the forthcoming Chinese New Year.

Reception have been learning all about the five senses and finding out what we use each one for.  We have enjoyed playing in Our Five Senses workshop where there are lots of things to see, feel, smell and hear – the musical instruments have been a firm favourite! We tasted different flavoured crisps and made a pictogram graph to see which flavours were the most popular. In mathematics, we have been learning how to subtract numbers from up to 20, using number lines, bears and dinosaurs.

In Year 1, we have been learning about the properties of different 3D shapes. In English, we have carried on practising our handwriting and developing our sentence structure. We have been reading stories about a cheeky pigeon who tries his best to stay up late.  We then wrote our own persuasive sentences explaining why we should be allowed to stay up late! On Friday, we made ‘Wanted’ posters for some famous pirates and carried on our investigations of different forces.

In English this week, Year Two have written their own versions of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. In theirs, the wolf is kind and gentle and Little Red is the villain. The stories were beautifully written and the children tried hard to include lots of description in them. In mathematics, we have concentrated on shape properties – looking for 2D shapes on 3D shapes, practising our shape vocabulary (vertices, edges and faces) and sorting shapes according to different criteria using Venn diagrams. We went on a shape walk to look for different 2D and 3D shapes around school.  We have continued our work on Circuses in topic and this week made posters advertising different world famous circuses.  In PSHE we spoke about the importance of setting targets. The children have all written two ‘goals’ for this term – these can be seen in our front window. During our science lesson, we looked at how different materials could be changed by twisting, squashing, stretching, bending and tearing.

Hot off the press, Monique Clayson and I have just had a really useful meeting with Mr Smith to discuss options for spending some of our DA raised funds. Monique did lots of work in preparing a fully comprehensive list of speakers and events on a whole range of subjects for the children, and some for parents, and Mr Smith was extremely impressed by the breadth of the proposals. Next step, Mr Smith will have a discussion with the teachers to agree which of the proposals they would like to take forwards and we will have a further discussion on the list at our DA meeting on Tuesday 9th February on the proposals as well. The list will continue to evolve so please do let Monique or I know ideas that you might have for experiences for the children to compliment school and thanks also to those who have already made suggestions during the Coffee Morning and subsequently.

Further, some quick reminders for you for other events in February:
Denmead Association Meeting at the Temporary Hall in Gloucester Road on Tuesday 9th February at 7.30pm. Agenda will be sent shortly – please do come along as we will be discussing and agreeing a wide range of topics including: our new name; summer fair theme; new roles on the DA; events proposal that we have shared and what are the next steps for that; school lunches; any other items you wish to be discussed with Mr Smith and the SMT at our meeting in March.

Denmead Association Bingo Night on Saturday 6th February – please book your tickets asap so that we can finalise catering requirements. Please click here to book.

Many thanks,

Karen, Shelly, Claire and Carey

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster