Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 16
I have been lucky enough to pop into – and in some cases spend extended periods of time in – a number of lessons in the Prep this week. Partly due to the various points where, in our Schemes of Work, boys and staff appear to have reached so far this term, I have been struck by how much ‘learning how to learn’ I saw taking place.
The edu-jargon name for this, as many of you will know, is ‘metacognition’. Plenty of educational researchers and their published findings are in strong support of any academic programme which has room for metacognitive elements in it. Most research evidence on the value of building some metacognition into the life and work of any school concludes by showing that when pupils are encouraged to think about how they are going to think, more often than not, their relative outcomes are better.
In a Year 4 lesson this week I was therefore thrilled to see this metacognitive approach very much in use. Boys were being asked to think about how they might need to think, learn and work in order to cover various elements of the sections in their L.I.O.N. Award. Year 4 boys in Mr Henderson’s Form had also taken a metacognitive approach to developing the content of their assembly this week, which parents, boys and staff all enjoyed this morning.
These are but a couple of examples. It might be helpful for you as parents to ask your children about their days at school with half a mind on trying to find out how they have been encouraged to think about their thinking. This is a reasonably sophisticated line of enquiry to take with Prep school aged children, but you embodying these sorts of very specific high expectations for them at home, helps us enormously at school too.
‘Bright Ideas’ continues to develop as our assembly theme this half term. It has been wonderful to see how a bright idea introduced at our Pastoral Review Meetings last academic year continues to follow now a momentum all of its own now. The L.I.O.N. Award for boys in Years 3 – 5 is gaining real traction in the hearts and minds of all of us.
One particular strand that seems to be currently featuring is the ‘Community’ section. In order to raise funds for charities in our community, the Year 5 Community CCA is organising a ‘Bring and Buy’ sale at school. Some individuals have read at primary schools, helped at residential care centres, done litter sweeps on a Sunday, ridden on charity Santa bike rides or organised sponsored events at home. One particular pupil was inspired to promote two charities close to his and his family’s heart so now we are all aiming to raise funds for ‘Aspire’ and ‘The Back Up Trust’.
Mr Richards is always delighted when the cakes sales begin (!) and Year 5 began the bake off season in aid of the above mentioned charities with a sale of confectionery offerings too good to resist. Year 6 are raising money for ‘Water Aid’ and ‘Save the Children’ whilst Years 3 and 4 will be cooking and consuming for our international projects ‘Planting Promise’ in Sierra Leone and the ‘Senahasa Trust’ in Sri Lanka.
Year 3 parents will also be able to support the Charity Fair stalls that their sons are planning and preparing presently. The HPPPA has kindly given £5 per pupil to buy prizes. This mini enterprise activity has created many self-initiated research questions and the ideas of marketing, profit, publicity or even reaching an agreement have been tremendous opportunities for pupils to think about their thinking. The fair is on Tuesday 14 March and we would encourage all Prep pupils to save a stack of 20p coins in the meantime to attend the fair and make it a great success.
Years 4 and 5 will also at the end of the Spring term undertake their Project Section with a project of their choice to be started in the last week of term and completed in the Easter holiday. Pupils and staff will help critique them upon our return in the Summer term. Year 5 in their Humanities sessions will also present a short talk on these projects and be ready to answer questions from their peers. More about this will follow after half term.
Next week Years 3 and 4 will head off on their residential journeys and will reflect upon their experiences upon their return, as part of the L.I.O.N. Award. Year 5 will also do this in the Summer Term. I hope that the boys all have a wonderful couple of days away with their teachers and friends. As ever, it will be very exciting to hear them tell us about their adventures when they are back with us in the middle of the week.
I was really thrilled to attend our Pupils’ Informal Concert in the Prep yesterday afternoon. This concert saw the greatest number of boys – over 30! – playing for their parents, the Chairman of the Prep Committee (the selection of Hampton Trust Governors responsible for the Pre-Prep & Prep School) and staff. The warm applause as boys or ensemble concluded their pieces demonstrated how wonderfully entertained we all felt we were being.
Not too much “entertainment” tomorrow night I hope, as the staff team competes against parents at our reinvigorated Parents’ Association Quiz Night. This event has been designed to get parents along to enjoy a night out at school, to mix with other parents and to flex their cognitive muscles, (meta- or otherwise). I understand there would still be room for one or two late table entries if groups of parents still wished to attend and have not yet booked a table. Please contact Dr Khan, Mrs Searancke or Mrs Smith if you are interested.
Have a great weekend,
So finally we have got under way with the rugby season. Last Friday the U9s managed to play despite the weather still being very cold and we welcomed St. Benedict’s to Carlisle Park for an A and B fixture. The A team are proving to be a formidable bunch and despite a very close first half they ran away with the second half and finished up winning 12 tries to 9. This is despite playing the last 5 minutes with one player less than the opposition after Harry Swain had to go off with an ankle injury. Unfortunately, I was responsible for accidentally injuring one of our players before the game had even started (sorry Cormac), so we didn’t have a replacement and it was great to see the boys dig deep in a time of adversity and work their socks off to make up for being one man down. This is where man of the match Max Duggan came into his own, making tackle after tackle for the cause of the team. Max is not the biggest lad but you wouldn’t know it when watching him tackle.
The B team also played very well and won convincingly. We have been working hard with the boys to concentrate on their alignment as a team, both in defence and attack and when I took the B team against Newland House earlier this week I was delighted to see the boys starting to think about this and with limited prompting from me start to align appropriately and effectively. They were passing the ball about well and some top tackling from Daniel Gray and some mazy running from Luke Asbrey and Rajvir Dhillon meant that for the second time in the space of 5 days they ran out easy winners, against what are traditionally tough opposition. The same also applied to the A team who once again showed some touches of class to comfortably win. The C and D team also combined to play a Newland House C team and won both halves with two completely different teams. The U9s play Surbiton High today, so good luck to all involved.
On Tuesday the U8s also played Surbiton High with 4 teams travelling to their Manor Road playing fields. The U8s are really getting into their rugby now and it’s great to see so much enthusiasm. The A team won a hard fought game by 1 try and it’s clear that we have some very talented and evasive runners such as Omer Olcer in the squad. If the boys can develop their defence in the same way, then they will become very tough to beat. The B team and C team lost but there was a big turnaround in the second half of the B team game and they nearly came back to overcome a large deficit at half time. The D team however, did win and with some more A-D fixtures coming up very soon it’s going to be great to see every boy representing the school and being so enthusiastic about doing so.
On Wednesday the U10s and U11s also played Surbiton High. The U10s were at home and both the A and B team won convincingly. The A team have really started to develop their ability to draw a man and then either pass or off-load the ball in the tackle. This is what I like to term ‘proper rugby’. It’s not relying on one man to run through everyone but trys are developed as a team and far more satisfying for all involved. In defence they have also progressed and not only has their tackle count increased but they are now counter-rucking and competing for the ball whilst defending, which makes life very difficult for the opposition. Boys such as Alessandro Tafuro and Ben Aldous are leading the way and acting as great examples to the rest of the boys. Things are building nicely and I can’t wait to see them play when we go on tour in a month’s time. The same praise can also be applied to the B team and it’s great to see the boys learn from the great coaching they are getting from Mr Salt and Mr Chilcott in games sessions. The strength in depth is impressive and there have been some interesting selection discussions when picking the teams for next Monday’s games against St. Benedict’s.
The U11s also played Surbiton High on Wednesday and two teams travelled away. We had a great training session on Monday, with all the boys showing great enthusiasm and focus and so I had high hopes for their performance and I was not disappointed. The A team had a solid first half and were leading comfortably but there were things to work on and after they were given a few pointers at half time their aggression in defence as well as their concentration improved massively and as I keep telling them pressure itself, before the tackle is even made, will cause mistakes by the opposition and it was good to see the ‘penny drop’ mid-way through the game. Off-loading and drawing the defender also started to improve and the boys ran out 50-20 winners. Some great defence and attack from Jamie Wilson saw him awarded man of the match but he was closely followed by a number of boys including Zac Weightman-Dauda, Zaki Sadiq-Baig, Max West-Cameron and Sam Slaney.
The B team boys also put in a great performance and due to a number of boys suffering from injuries or illness, we drafted in three boys last minute from the C team, due to their great attitude in training on the Monday. All three performed exceptionally well and one of the three; Oluwashayo Elufowoju was actually awarded the man of the match award. Just like the U10s these boys all play against St. Benedict’s on Monday. They are a strong rugby school, so I’m hoping it will be a good test for the boys and win or lose we’ll definitely learn something. Next week also sees the U8s and U9s play against Twickenham Prep before a well-deserved half term break.
Have a lovely weekend.
In assembly this week the following Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded; For sharing a Science experiment created at home with his class, Ben Crook (4S). English: For a dramatic and gripping account of the discovery of a crashed German air plane, Bryn Griffiths (5C); For a deeply moving, powerful portrayal of the aftermath of an air raid during the Blitz, Sam Tavaziva (5W). For completing the ladder to success, demonstrating continued effort and progress in reading and spelling; Conor harding, Richard Turner (3W); Jamie Searancke (3L); Christopher Bathurst (4S); Alistair Hill, Max Duggan (4H) and William Turner (6C). Well done to all those boys!
Due to the Year 3 & 4 residential trips, taking place next Monday 6 to Wednesday 8 February, the following CCAs will NOT take place.
Monday: Touch Typing and ICT (Please also note that ICT does not run after half term)
Tuesday: Music Makers
Wednesday: Touch Typing and Board Games
In assemblies we have continued the ‘Bright Ideas’ theme. Being lovers of all types of creatures, we have had fun discussing the wildlife programme ‘Spy in the Wild’ and all agree what an ingenious idea to film different species through the model spy cameras. Discussions led to agreement that this must have taken quite some time to come to fruition – some thought years, others decades even but, most importantly, we were left feeling that any bright idea is worth persistence and even if there are set-backs along the way, the end result will be worth it!
On Tuesday morning what a treat – we welcomed a very special visitor to assembly, as Alfie Keller (Year 2) brought along his new snake Mercury (a Royal Python). Alfie ably led the assembly and imparted much expertise about snake husbandry, as well as his encyclopaedic knowledge of snakes, and generally telling us lots of interesting facts about snakes. We discovered that Mercury’s life expectancy is around 40 years and by that time he may have grown to 5 feet! We are very grateful to Mrs Keller and Alfie’s grandparents for taking the time to bring Mercury in – we all got a lot from his visit.
We have been asked by Mr Smith to politely remind everyone of the correct protocol for seeking permission to be absent from school. It is important that permission for absence, whatever the reason, should be requested, and hence not presented as a fait accompli. All requests should be made in writing to Mr Smith well in advance.
Today in assembly, the following awards were made –
Courtesy Cup and Badge was awarded to Max Beesley (Year 2) for coming in to school every morning with a cheerful and polite ‘Good Morning’ – well done.
Star of the Week:
Reception: Arthur Band for working so hard in phonics this week
Year 1: Archie Skinner for fantastic reading progress and working so very hard.
Year 2: Bertie Bishop for working exceptionally hard on his times tables in maths this week.
A round up of the week in the classrooms –
We have been busy celebrating Chinese New Year in Kindergarten this week. The children have made noodles and eaten them with chopsticks. They ate them in our role play Chinese Restaurant and were offered soy sauce and prawn crackers. We made a lion headdress using a cardboard box and plenty of red and gold materials. We then performed a very noisy lion dance using our lion costume and accompanied by a range of loud instruments, including a huge gong. We were also treated to a visit from Alfie’s pet snake. Next week we head back to our traditional tales focus and will be learning all about the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
We have been learning all about penguins in Reception and started off reading ‘The Emperor Penguin’ which is a non-fiction book. We then had to remember our favourite facts about penguins and record them in our writing. We looked at a globe to locate the different climates as well as where different species of penguins prefer to live. After reading many stories involving penguin characters, we used our imagination to describe what we would do if we had a penguin to stay. There were lots of ideas and kind gestures made as many of us would build a house for him, feed him fish and take him to Pizza Express! We then made our penguin friends out of paper cylinders and clay. We look forward to painting our clay penguins next week.
We also carried out a freezing and melting experiment. We filled two plastic gloves with water and placed them in the freezer. After two days we got them out to see what had happened. We were excited to see that they had turned into Jack Frost’s hands. We then placed one frozen hand inside the classroom and the other outside in our garden and we each guessed which one would melt the quickest. We were thrilled that our predictions were correct!
In maths we have been looking at simple addition, one more and one less, using classroom objects and recording our answers on paper and the whiteboards. We are enjoying playing snakes and ladders with our friends.
Next week we are learning all about dinosaurs!
This week Year 1 have had lots of fun learning about 3D shapes in maths. Our activities included making 3D shapes using playdough and building 3D objects such as a tent, a suitcase and a box from a net.
In English, we have written stories in the style of ‘Anancy and Mr Dry-Bone’. The children focused on ordering their story, punctuating their work correctly and including adjectives within their writing.
In our topic, we learnt a song all about the seven continents of the world and in science we read the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ and had a go at building houses using different kinds of material.
Year 2 have been writing their own Greek myths. They have tried hard to make sure that their stories make sense, are correctly punctuated and include lots of detail.
Our focus in maths has been multiplying and dividing using the 2s, 5s, 10s, 3s, 4s and 6s. Today we received a letter from Mr Smith asking us to help him with rather tricky challenge involving making different shaped pens for his pet lions. It was very exciting and involved some very ‘out of the box’ thinking.
In topic we have continued learning about Emmeline Pankhurst. In science, we looked at the difference between natural and manmade materials and did some beautiful printing using different materials.
Have a lovely weekend.