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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 17

This week

Dear Parents,

There has been a great deal of wonder in evidence at the School this week, in my opinion, and all of it arising for a great range of reasons.

I was fortunate enough to read to Year 2 in the middle part of the week. The class had reached a particularly exciting chapter in James and the Giant Peach and it was with huge excitement that we all enjoyed a number of next instalments in the story, as the tale of what was happening to James and his companions unfolded. I find that wonder manifests itself in all sorts of different ways here; if the gasps and hands being clasped over mouths were anything to go by, then the boys and girls in Year 2 were most certainly in awe of the story on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Campbell’s assembly on mathematical ‘Bright Ideas’ was also another fantastic opportunity for all of us to sit in wonder for 20 minutes or so, before lessons began on Wednesday morning in the Prep. It was a pretty free-ranging affair but the various seemingly disparate strands all led eventually to one single, wonderful concluding question for us all to ponder: how many different ways can knowledge and understanding of mathematics help us all to make everything we do better? This is no easy question to consider, and so much the better I would say. I am hoping boys and colleagues alike will be thinking about this over the half term break.

Our theme for assemblies next half term changes as we look at the notion of ‘self-sacrifice’ and what that means to all of us. Mr Chilcott and his class tied up plenty of loose ends on the current theme this morning with a wonderful assembly on the ‘Bright Ideas’ that Leonardo da Vinci came up with. The boys in Year 5 are certainly becoming excellent public speakers and actors!

It was very good to see Years 3 and 4 heading off to their respective residential trips on Monday morning this week, full of excitement and enthusiasm. We had already discussed the importance of taking one’s second best soft toy or teddy on such excursions. I have seen too many hearts broken over the years because of number one favourite soft toys or teddies having been left behind on coaches, trains, planes, in airports or stations and in one case, on a chair lift in an Italian ski resort (I can still hear the screams of that child now as we both looked up in horror to see ‘Squiggles’ disappearing off by himself back up the mountain as we disembarked from the chair lift and ‘Squiggles’ did not – to protect his identity ‘Squiggles’ is not in fact that particular teddy’s name but in every other respect this is a true story. Don’t ask why the child felt he had to ski with his cuddly toy…)

Thankfully all precious voyagers on Monday returned on Wednesday and in addition to those residential trips, Year 5 visited Reading Museum to find out more about the life and times of Victorian children on Tuesday. I have been very glad to hear boys in all three year groups tell me about their trips over the last day or two. Archery seemed very popular, as did dressing up as Roman soldiers, along with finding out about the very gruesome way Victorian teachers punished errant pupils. Again, a great deal of wonder has been experienced by the boys on their excursions.

Mrs James is in for a wonderful time as she departs on her maternity leave today. In case any of you have missed my earlier communications on this, Miss Jo-Ann Leece will be covering for Mrs James in her absence.

Have a great half term break,

Tim Smith





Sports News

Amazingly we are already at half term and half way through the rugby season. Due to the cold weather and the cancelled fixtures, it doesn’t quite feel like that, but the fixtures have been coming thick and fast since we thawed out and so we are now fully into the swing of things.

Last Friday saw the U9s play against Surbiton High in our last fixture of the week against them. We were fielding three teams and it was a very successful afternoon with all three teams being victorious.

The A team started very strongly and were well up at half time. However, Surbiton came back with vigour in the second half and were within one try at one point. It was interesting to see how, when the pressure came on, the boys forgot a lot of the things we had been working on in training and until that point, had been implementing in matches. Consequently, it turned out to be a good lesson for the boys and showed how, if we don’t remain focused and confident in our preparation, that things can unravel. However, the boys did pull through and won 12 tries to 8 in the end.

The B team played extremely well and showed the strength in depth of the year group and we have had some interesting discussions about selection for today’s game against Twickenham Prep. As a consequence, there are going to be a few changes as we definitely have boys that deserve their chance in the A team and I am really interested to see how those boys progress today.

The C team also put in a strong performance and were carrying the ball hard, with Jason David-West leading the team in this regard. They are also starting to understand the concept of defending as a line and taking the ground off the opposition, which is something we have been working hard on in training and therefore very satisfying to see in a game situation.

On Monday the U10s and U11s played St. Benedict’s away. Traditionally a very strong rugby school, we were expecting a tough set of games and we were not wrong. The U11 A team were given the chance to play on a large pitch and unfortunately this did not play into our hands. The St. Benedict’s boys were fast and athletic and we struggled to contain them, quickly finding ourselves 4 tries down at half time.

However, it can sometimes be at times like these, that we find out the real character of individuals and I was extremely proud of how the boys carried themselves in a situation where they could easily have given up. In fact, quite the opposite happened, they chased down every player and made it very difficult for the opposition to score any more tries whilst continuing to try and score themselves and if we continue to show that attitude then I will consider our season a success, regardless of the result of each game.

The U11B and the U10B teams also lost, although the U10 team pushed them pretty close, losing a game that could have gone either way 6-4. However, the U10A team continue to march on with their winning ways and were victorious by 6 tries to 3. By all accounts they didn’t play very well, seemingly following in England’s footsteps at the weekend, but as Eddie Jones said “sometimes you need to win ugly” and if we can still win playing badly, against what was a good team, then that bodes well.

Today the U8s and U9s play Twickenham Prep to conclude this half term. I wish them the best of luck and thank you all for your support on the side lines since the new year. I hope you all have a relaxing half term.

Prep News

As per the School Calendar Years 3 & 4 Parents’ Meetings are due to take place on Tuesday 23 February please do telephone the School Office if you have not done so already to book your appointment.

Climate week commences the first week back after half term, which will include some exciting activities throughout for all pupils!


Please note some clubs finish at Half Term as noted on the CCA list that went out to parents at the start of term . As a reminder, listed below are the CCAs which stop at half term and the ones which start after half term.

Monday Extra maths/ ICT U8 and U9 Tag Rugby
Tuesday Extra English, Community Service, Reporters’ Club U10 Rugby and U11 Rugby
Thursday Soccer Skills, Fit Club


Judo will not be taking place the first week back after half term (Wednesday 22 February).


Here are some images from this week’s residential trips:

Year 3


Year 4 

Pre-Prep News

Today in assembly, the following awards were made –

Courtesy Cup and Badge was awarded to Aarav Tegginamath (Year 1) for being so understanding, polite and brave when daddy was late collecting on Wednesday.  Well done.

Star of the Week:

Reception:  Ayaan Jadoon for trying so hard with his reading and learning his sounds – a Superstar reader this week!

Year 1:  Izzy Gray for always listening carefully and answering some excellent questions on the carpet this week.

Year 2: Alfie Keller for writing a superb Greek myth.

A round up of the week in the classrooms –

We have been busy in Kindergarten this week following the adventures of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The children have loved joining in the repeated phrases, such as, ‘Who’s been eating my porridge?”, using a range of voices. They have produced some very deep and resounding sounds for Daddy Bear! We made bowls for the bears out of clay, observing the changes in the material as it dried. The children enjoyed selecting their favourite topping for the porridge we made in class, again observing changes that occured during the cooking process. They have also learnt how to make a simple tally chart based on their favourite character in the story. The hardest part of this activity for the children was only being allowed one vote

Reception have been learning about dinosaurs this week. This gave the boys an opportunity to add to their already astonishing general knowledge about dinosaurs! They have learnt and written new dinosaur facts and drawn amazing pictures. They listened to the story of ‘Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs’ by Ian Whybrow. Some boys then had a go at independently writing their favourite part of the story and others copied their sentence. In mathematics, we have used dinosaurs to help us with our addition and subtraction. We have enjoyed counting to 100 with our 100 squares, finding larger numbers and counting in 10’s. The children enjoyed looking in our purses. We looked at coins, notes, cards and cheques. We had some very interesting conversations about pocket money, piggy banks and banks on the high street. We have enjoyed counting pennies and finding a total. Over half term please let your son count out some pennies and play shops!

Year 1 have enjoyed reading ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay up Late!’ and have used ‘bossy verbs’ to write instructions and sentences to persuade Mummy and Daddy to let them stay up late.  In maths, we have consolidated how to skip count in 2s, 5s and 10s, forwards and backwards from 0 – 20. At the end of the week, we looked at arrays and learnt how to use our skip counting to count large numbers of objects.  We continued our work on materials in science by sorting a variety of materials into man-made or natural.

This week in English, Year 2 have been learning all about Bob (the man on the moon), a series of books written by Simon Bartram. We have thought about what Bob might need to take with him to work as a cleaner on the moon, and have written diary entries for his first day in the job. We have been listening to Roald Dahl’s ‘James and the Giant Peach’ in story time and enjoyed when Mr Smith came to read it to us this week.  In maths we have been looking at mass – weighing and comparing different objects as well as doubling and halving masses.  In topic we learned about the life of Florence Nightingale and are looking forward to our trip after half term where we will learn a lot more about her. In science we thought about how materials can change from solids to liquids and gases. We had a lot of fun experimenting to see how quickly or slowly we could get ice cubes to melt.

Have a great half term.

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster