Autumn Term Open Morning Saturday 1 October 2022. Parents and children welcome. Please book your space


Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 4

This Week

Dear Parents,

I talk too much – believe me, I know. One of the many fantastic things about working at this school is that I am surrounded by colleagues who are as gently instructional with me as they know they need to be – on occasions – with our pupils. They are therefore not at all afraid to point out my shortcomings and ‘talking too much’ has been one of them.

Parents too are also very good at explaining to me how we might go about doing things in all sorts of developed ways; hearing from you about a whole host of matters is always a good thing. We may not agree with you, but we will always do our best to explain to you why we believe what we do is in the best interests of all the boys and girls here. I confessed to parents at a Year 5 information evening recently that I probably would not be able to stick to my allocated seven minutes when I came in to talk to them about the next school transfer process. The parents’ rather knowing and polite yet amused response did therefore reinforce my understanding that having a reputation for magniloquence is sometimes just not a very good thing at all!

I am trying to do something about this failing of mine, believe it or not. Continuing to teach helps enormously, as one the tenets we all try to stick to in lessons here, in terms of timing, is giving over the lion’s share of each session to our boys’ and girls’ expression. I always say to beginning teachers that it is the adults who should conclude any lesson feeling much less exhausted than the pupils – if it is the other way round, in my opinion, something has in all likelihood gone horribly wrong. What our pupils say to us ultimately matters more than what we say to them, especially when we are looking for evidence of their progress over time. Remembering to listen carefully and listen more is something I try hard to take away from every lesson I teach.

I have been especially interested in this whole notion of too much talk versus the right sort of talk recently, as I have come across the work of Associate Professor Meredith Rowe, an educational psychologist based at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in the United States. Professor Rowe contends that the quality of language we use with children – including very small babies – has a definite impact on the nature of their overall language development over time, and in particular their ability to reason. How much talk that goes on does also count, but it is the quality of that spoken language that matters more. Hearing challenging, esoteric, sophisticated vocabulary makes our children think and gives us as adults a real opportunity to demonstrate how we expect our children to be using the same sort of language too.

Do please click on the link below if you are interested in finding out more about Professor Rowe’s work. If you scroll to the bottom of the interview and click on her name beside her photo you are taken to her professional web page at Harvard. At the bottom of that, in ‘news stories’, there is a collection of her most recent very readable work on the whole topic of language development:

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith


Sports News

At the end of last week’s bulletin I referred to the U9 boys taking part in their first fixture of the year, against King’s House last Friday afternoon. Five teams meant every single boy was playing and what an afternoon it was, with four wins and one draw. The fact that so many boys were out on the field representing our school was in my opinion victory enough, but to come away with such a fantastic set of results was amazing and a real feather in our cap when you consider how strong King’s House have been historically.

Personally I was coaching the E team and the enthusiasm and hard work that all the boys put in was why we came away with a hard fought 1-0 win and this was clearly the same enthusiasm and hard work that all the boys in their respective teams were displaying. A great way to start the weekend and a great way to start the season. Hopefully the boys can follow that up with their fixture against St. George’s, Windsor. It will also be the first fixture for the U8 boys; also against St. George’s Windsor and I look forward to telling you all about how they got on next week.

On Wednesday, last week’s victorious U10s travelled to the Epsom football festival, where they were privileged to be put through their paces by a group of Chelsea coaches and we hope the boys were able to pick up some tips from the experts and build upon the fantastic result last week when they head to yet another tournament, once again at St. George’s, Windsor on Saturday. Please click here for a write up on the Epsom College website about the day plus a few photos.

The U11 also travelled there on Wednesday and despite some valiant performances we were unable to secure a victory. At that age group St. George’s combine their U11 and U10 boys and so we found it a tough ask. Something to think about for next year when we play them but nonetheless there was great effort shown by all. So much so the boys in the E team were awarded Headmaster’s Commendations for what has been great progression over the past two weeks.

In two weeks we will be hosting our own 6-a-side U11 and U10 tournament at Hampton school. As in previous years we have invited boys from what is now known as Elizabeth College Junior school in Guernsey and I would like to say a thank you to the families who have agreed to host the visiting boys. I hope and I’m sure you will have an enjoyable weekend.

It’s another busy week ahead, so I’m sure there will be lots more to tell you about next week. Have an enjoyable weekend.


Prep News

In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Shay Patel (4H) for his effort and contributions to charity; Benedict Creigh-Tyte (6J), Daniel ColemanJohn Snaith and Freddie Searancke (all 6J) for their outstanding effort in an away fixture on Wednesday. Well done to those boys!

As you may notice this week our bulletin ‘featured image’ is of our 3 Scarecrows, expertly constructed by our pupils in Gardening club on Tuesday with Mrs Campbell and Mrs Sunderland, they now take residence on our newly seeded field to keep those pesky pigeons at bay!

This afternoon saw our Year 3 boys play their first fixture of the season at home!


Pre-Prep News

Pre-Prep have been busy this week as you will see when you read the accounts below. Special mentions must go to Years 1 and 2 at Harvest Festival, they sang their hymn with gusto and recited their poems beautifully, making us very proud of them!

In Kindergarten this week, as part of our work on Transport, we have been learning about the importance of listening carefully to adults when out and about in order to stay safe. We have spoken about holding hands when crossing roads and not scootering off too far ahead. This led us to reading a story about Ephra the Elephant, who didn’t listen to the rest of the herd and ended up surrounded by crocodiles! The children have painted some charming pictures of Ephra and have enjoyed sharing their knowledge of elephant facts. We learnt the song ‘One elephant went out one day,’ and had fun being the elephants on the spider’s web! Next week, we are looking forward to using the story of ‘Mr Gumpy’s Outing’ as a starting point for our learning.

In Reception we have been looking at ‘Our Body’. We each talked about what we use our bodies for and what we like doing best, our favourite activities were swimming, walking in the park, riding our bikes and scooters and playing rugby and football. We read lots of books and had discussions about good hygiene, washing our hands and cleaning our teeth.

We constructed a skeleton using different pasta shapes and placing them onto black card. We then used the digital camera to take a photograph of our amazing skeletons to put in our blue folders.

In mathematics, we have been ordering numbers 1-5 and practised the correct number formation of numbers 4 and 5.

In Year 1 we have been learning to write sentences using verbs in the past tense. We practised this whilst writing postcards, as well as other important grammar points, for example always remembering correct use of capital letters and full stops!

We have continued the theme ‘Houses and Homes’ learning to write our postal addresses.

In maths we have recalled number facts up to 10 and worked out corresponding subtraction facts.

Year 2 have been learning how to use conjunctions to join two sentences together. As part of our work on recounts we heard the story of ‘Diary of a Wombat’. Next week, we will be writing our own animal diaries in the first person.

In maths, we have been using known number facts to solve addition and subtraction calculations involving counting in tens. We have also been thinking about the word ‘systematic’ and what it means to work systematically.

In science, we learned about the importance of having a balanced diet and why each food group is so important, and in topic we learned about the cruel practice of human oddities being used in circuses in the past.

Star of the Week:

Reception: Aashish Gill for always finishing his work beautifully first time and keeping the Golden Rules.

Year 1: Dean Fitzpatrick for always helping to tidy away without being asked.

Year 2: Joseph Timba for working really hard all week, including when attempting some particularly difficult maths tasks.

Courtesy Cup and Badge: Teddy Clarke (Year 1) was chosen by Mrs Pope for his superb manners in the dining hall. Well done, Teddy for setting such a good example.

Arthur Band (Reception) was congratulated in assembly for being chosen as ‘Star Player of the Week’ at his rugby club, Twickenham RFC. Good effort, Arthur.

Alfie Keller (Year 2) showed his diary that he started during the summer holidays. Well done, Alfie – and impressive piece for work.

Arin Patel (Year 2) was awarded 1 silver and 3 bronze Mathletics certificates – well done!

Archie Duggan (Year 2) received a medal for winning a Gaelic football match last Friday and he explained the rules to us very clearly in assembly. He also has gained another bronze Mathletics certificate.

Have a wonderful weekend for all at Pre-Prep!

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster