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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 12

This Week

Dear Parents,

This is my final Bulletin for this calendar year as next week I shall be sending you all my usual end of term letter in its place. Goodness me, I feel Christmassy! The sequence of events that represents this special time of year began with the Pre-Prep Christmas play last week, continued with the Parents’ Association Christmas Fair last weekend (what a great turn out!) through to the Kindergarten Nativity Play this week and our Prep Carol Concert at St. Mary’s Church in Hampton last night. It has been a week of celebration and merriment; our spirits are very definitely lifted.

It is important to me that we make the most of these moments of joy in the life of this school. Plenty with a vested interest in education – parents, teachers, governments, the media – often maintain expectations for schools that are centered upon data driven educational outcomes alone. Education is highly politicised now, there is no denying that, and more so than it has ever been. The media’s obsessive approach to presenting us with ranked lists of schools and their results does not, in my opinion, do much to draw those who are interested in education closer together though.

Best school, worst school, most expensive, most deprived, greatest value added, healthiest lunches…ranking and codifying anything only ever gives us a pretty limited view of what is really going on I think. I would always find it very difficult to tell you, for instance, where your child sits on any ranked list of attainment here because I simply do not understand how you knowing that information can help your child make the most progress of which he or she is capable. Numbers of you come in to try to convince me otherwise, lively debate ensues, yet I always remain firmly in the dark on this. It is very important to me that we help all our children here to recognise and rely upon the intrinsic value of doing well, in terms not only of their results but also their behaviour. I believe that feeling good about how well you know you have done has a far greater impact upon future progress than knowing A.N. Other child is better or worse than you.

If any of you keep up with educational stories in the media, you would have been hard pressed not to have come across the publication of the latest PISA rankings this week. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students (so say the OECD, its creators). Irrespective of what any of us believe about the credibility of such large scale data gathering exercises – and however cynical you are about ranked lists of anything, pupils’ educational attainment and achievement included – what is interesting in my mind from the PISA data is the way in which certain key influences upon learning emerge as having greater impacts than others.

I was greatly relieved to discover Andreas Schleicher, PISA’s head honcho, extolling the virtues of reading, for instance. We know how critically important it is for our boys and girls at Hampton Pre-Prep and Prep to have really nailed their reading in order to get the most out of the rest of the curriculum. Mr Schleicher puts it slightly more elegantly than me when he says “Literacy, in all three of the foundational domains, is the key to making sense of the world and shaping it for the better”.

You can read his article heralding the arrival of the PISA data this week here:

At the equivalent time last year, we were readying ourselves for our move into our new Prep premises, hard at work behind the scenes preparing for the inspection we knew we were due at any moment, as well as contemplating letting you all know about our change of name (but not our change of values and ethos).

The last twelve months have been quite extraordinary therefore, from our angle, as all those anticipated events came to their inevitable conclusions. During the course of 2017 we are all very much looking forward to working with your boys and girls – and of course you – to nurture and develop your children’s continuing personal progress, as well as their academic achievements.

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith


Sports News

It’s been a quiet week sports wise after what has been an incredibly busy term. To wrap things up last week the U8s and U9s played Bishopsgate.

The U8s put out two teams and once again the year group showed how much progress they had made with two 5-0 wins. The A team progressed even further from 3 days previous and played some outstanding passing football. I was amazed at their progress and this time it was the opposition parents who commented on what an impressive team they were. What a fantastic way to finish the season and bar results in one tournament, the A team have remained unbeaten for the term and have the makings of a very good team in the future.

The same can also be said of the B team who continue to push the A team boys for a position in the squad. It will be interesting to see how they progress over the coming year and I am sure we will see some of these boys come to the fore and be a part of the A team squad next September.

This brings us to the final match of the year for the U9s and the match that would determine whether or not Mr Chilcott would be buying some family buckets for the ‘unbeaten season’ promise he made at the start of the year.

Who knows whether Mr Chilcott truly believed the team would have done so remarkably well at this point but I do know that he desperately wanted the boys to win this last game regardless of the dent it was going to make to his bank account and he wasn’t the only one. Alas it wasn’t to be and unfortunately the boys succumbed to 4-3 defeat in a game they should have won, based on possession and chances. However, regardless of the final result it’s been a fantastic season for these boys too.


Mr Chilcott and I sat and reflected on the result and despite the disappointment we came to the conclusion that in some ways the defeat may, in the long run, do them more good than harm. There’s something to be said for having your feet kept firmly on the ground and I think they’ll learn and benefit from this experience. Oh and by the way Mr Chilcott is still taking them to KFC. Don’t get used to it boys, you’ve got Mr Henderson next year. There’s no chance he’ll be parting with any money.

So there it is, the first term done. I can’t believe how quickly it has gone and in reflection how much fun I have had in leading the department and being out there with the boys every single day; seeing them progress and enjoy themselves by being physically active. I also teach year 6 Science and this half term we are looking at the human body, how to stay healthy and good nutrition. So I take tremendous pride and satisfaction that I am able to be a part of something that all the boys love i.e. running around outside, knowing that at the same time it’s doing the boys so much good physically and mentally.

I’d like to say a big thank you to all the parents that have supported the school, the boys, myself and the other staff over the term. It is much appreciated. I’d also like to say thanks to all the staff that have worked so hard.

On to the rugby season. We’re teaching the Year 4 boys how to tackle this afternoon. Not a bad way to spend your Friday afternoons.

Have a lovely Christmas and I look forward to seeing you all in the new year.

Prep News

We would like to remind you that there are NO CCA’s taking place next week as it is the last week of term. There will also be no late stay provision on Thursday and on Friday School finishes at 11.45am.


Please note that the School Shop will close for the Christmas holiday on Friday 16 December at 2pm.

It will re-open before the start of the new term on Friday 6 January from 9.30am to 4pm. Appointments are not necessary, please just drop in at your convenience.

Normal hours will resume from Monday 9 January with the first delivery to the Prep School office on Tuesday 10 January.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Pre-Prep News

It’s been another busy week in Pre-Prep…Christmas is well and truly underway with glitter a plenty.

What a treat Kindergarten’s performance was on Wednesday, a huge well done to all the children – they made us so proud! Thank you, too, to our Kindergarten team who prepared the children superbly for their roles.  We hope you loved it just as much as we did.

You will notice there are no certificates, awards and so on as Secret Santa took place today.  We absolutely love this event, as there is something so special about watching the children carefully making their selections.  The children will bring their gifts wrapped and ready to pop under the Christmas tree.  Many thanks to Mrs Rowe and her team for making this so lovely for us all.

Just a few reminders about next week:

On Monday 12 December, we are holding our Parents’ Visits – hopefully you will have received your invitation from your child about the arrangements.  If not, Kindergarten parents are invited to visit at 11.30 am and the remainder of the School (Reception, Years 1 & 2, plus afternoon Kindergarten) at 3.00pm.  For those new to the School, this is an informal visit where your child will show you what they have been up to in class this term.  We hope you can make it.

The Pre-Prep Pantomime takes place on Tuesday (13 December) morning, ‘oh yes it does’!

Our Pre-Prep Christmas Merrie is on Thursday (15 December) so please send your child to school in their own clothes for the day, but do bear in mind we’ll be involved in messy activities so nothing too special please.

Here’s the round-up of the week:

We were delighted that so many Kindergarten parents were able to attend our Christmas play on Wednesday. We were so proud of all the children for taking part and singing so beautifully. Our children have only been in school for one term and they demonstrated how they understand the importance of waiting for their turn, playing a role and contributing to a whole group activity.  The children clearly enjoyed themselves and the event has certainly made us feel that Christmas is on its way.  We are now busy decorating the classroom in readiness for further Christmas festivities next week.

Glitter, glitter and more glitter! Reception have been having lots of Christmas craft fun! They have made glorious singing angels, sparkling wooden tea-light holders and printed their own Christmas stockings.

The boys started the week by writing letters to Father Christmas that we sent ‘Pixie Post’ to Father Christmas’s workshop. There are many tall orders for Father Christmas this year, as some asked for flying toy cars and real reindeers! We must say Reception worked particularly hard at forming their letters neatly and sitting their letters on the line so Father Christmas would not misread these letters.

In mathematics we have been counting to 50, and back from 20. We have been looking at one more and one less than a given number. The boys have also been playing simple addition games with dice. We have been learning the days of the week and playing games with the order in which they come.

Year 1 are gearing up for Christmas having had a festively inspired week. We watched an advert staring ‘Mog the Cat’ and used it as a prompt for writing about Mog’s Christmas Calamity. In maths, we learnt how to find a half of a shape and a number, remembering that both sides have to be ‘equal’. We drew the other half for Christmas inspired pictures.

At the end of the week, we continued our work on artic animals by learning about their habitats. Year 1 are looking forward to welcoming their parents into their classroom on Monday afternoon to show you all their fabulous work this term.

In English this week, Year 2 have been learning to write dialogue using speech bubbles and speech marks.  In maths, we have been thinking all about time. We began the week by making our own analogue clocks. During the rest of the week, we have learned to read and write the time to the nearest quarter of an hour. Some children have learned to tell the time to the nearest five minutes and we have also done some converting times between a 12-hour digital clock and an analogue clock.

Science was very loud this week! We made circuits using buzzers and switches and had a go at drawing these as scientific diagrams. In topic we designed our own circuses and in RE we spoke about our Christmas traditions. We are very excited about doing some Christmas activities next week!

Finally, it is a half day next Friday (16 December) when we break up for Christmas, the children will be ready for collection at 11.45am.  It’s going to be a very special day as Miss Kent is getting married, please help us to get to the church on time by picking up your child as promptly as possible – thank you.

This will be the last bulletin of the term, so we should like to take this opportunity to wish you all wonderful holiday full of Christmas cheer.


headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster