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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 21

This Week

Dear Parents,

Embroidered is such a hard word to spell…”. So concluded a very long winded tale between Year 2 and me on Wednesday this week, when really, I should have been reading them their story – we had become quite side tracked! I mention this episode partly as an example of what a wonderfully unpredictable business working in a school can be. I had not set out to talk about needlework with Year 2 and I genuinely cannot recall the genesis of the actual discussion now because it was full of the sorts of twists and turns that can arise when children and adults are sparking ideas off each other. The really striking aspect of this episode for me though, was what happened immediately after we all concluded how hard embroidered is to spell. As we all sat in (deliberately engineered – by me) silence, one by one, without a single word from me or Miss Goscomb, almost every child in the room slowly raised their hand. They all instinctively knew – including, I reckon, those who had not quite managed to raise their hand – that having decided this word was difficult to spell, I wanted them to have a go anyway.

I do not have a definitive understanding of what constitutes ‘learning’ but I do have a strong belief in one of its intended outcomes. I think children should be able to finish any stage of their educational experience with a great deal of knowledge embedded in their long term memories, all the better for them to draw from for the rest of their lives. I also very strongly believe that the personal characteristics and behaviours that arise out of ‘doing a lot of learning’ are also very important. In fact, if I had to call it, in my mind at least these behaviours are probably more important than the bank of knowledge children end up with.

This moment in Year 2 this week, with this particular word, was a pretty small moment in the grand scheme of things, but in the heat of that moment I felt ‘the magic in the air’ which for me, on a very personal level, I identify as evidence of real learning taking place. Our Year 2 pupils were relying upon their own sense of bravery, enthusiasm, passion and curiosity to attempt something they knew would be demanding, but they were not afraid to try, and what is more, no one had asked them to! This, I hope, is the sort of intellectual behaviour that will remain with every child here long after the moments when they were required to spell tricky words or do tricky sums or indeed undertake any other academic challenge have passed. These are also the moments that make any day in the life of anyone working in a school precious and compelling – I love them.

Tuesday afternoon saw the James Hall buzzing with excitement as the first Year 3 L.I.O.N. Charity Fair took place. Their mini enterprise endeavours saw 15 enticing stalls for the older boys to pit their wits against. The real life learning opportunities had been well designed and stress tested, providing both an element of challenge, technique and good fortune. The prizes, funded by the HPPPA, were also very enticing to help persuade the 20p pieces to be exchanged rapidly. Year 2 pupils will be visiting the fair ground when we re-create it for them on Wednesday to learn from the experience to help develop next year’s attractions. Our charities ‘Planting Promise’ and the ‘Senahasa Trust’ will benefit from the entire school community’s efforts and it was fantastic to witness the younger boys at the Prep lead their older peers. The boys should be greatly encouraged by their team work and efforts and are certainly looking forward to the mathematical session to find out the final totals.

The final of the House Poetry Competition took place in the James Hall this morning and it too was a wonderful event. Every boy in the Prep has in fact competed, as we have had numerous knock out rounds and class based heats. The ultimate selection of poems recited this morning was evidence of the boys’ wide interest in the genre and our LAMDA qualified judge, Susan Harding, found it a very difficult competition to adjudicate. Windsor did come out on top as the winning House and amongst the individual House and year group winners, special mention must go to Ben Rowe for his placement as overall winner and to Adam Gaunt as overall runner up.

You will have received, no doubt, the email from the four Hampton Prep staff members who are embarking on the Isle of Wight Challenge. I am pleased to report that as of this morning, with 23 donors, the current fundraising total for MIND sat at an impressive £938.75. What an amazing amount received after only one week! On behalf of Mr Chilcott, Mr Henderson, Mr Salt and Mr Wilson, I would like to thank you for your generous contributions to this great charity so far and to remind you that the fundraising page will remain active in the weeks leading up to and shortly after the event on 29 April. The link is here:

I can also assure you that these four gentlemen are training hard in preparation for the challenge – there is a lot of running about here from them at the current time!

Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh,

Tim Smith


Sports News

It’s been a very busy week since my previous post. Last Friday saw the hotly contested House rugby competition and as I said when telling you about the House cross-country; it always amazes me how some in-house rivalry brings out every ounce of competitiveness in the boys. This year was no different and although Tudor ran out winners again, there were no easy games for any house and the final year 5/6 Viking game was a tale of the walking wounded. Mr Salt talked to us in assembly this week about the need for every member of a team to pull their weight or a team can’t and won’t succeed. This was on show in abundance on Friday and it was great to see the boys put their heart and soul into each and every match.

On Tuesday the U9s played in the Caldicott festival. Traditionally Caldicott is regarded as one of the premier sporting Prep schools and so therefore, we were expecting a tough afternoon. This was certainly the case but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t successful and the boys finished with a record of 1 loss, 2 draws and 2 wins. We draw against Caldicott and eventually came second in our group. When we played the winners of the other group we drew with them and then beat the second placed team in the other group. So I think when all is said and done, we can probably view ourselves as the second best placed team in the competition.

On Wednesday both the U11s and the U10s played against St. George’s Windsor. It was a tale of two year groups. The U11s unfortunately lost all 3 matches and the U10s fortunately won all three of their matches. However, with regards to the U11s, it was a common theme across all three teams that everyone’s attitude that day, and maybe to some extent in contrast to the previous week, was spot on and as is always pleasing, it was great to see every single boy playing that afternoon.

The U10 As had a tough match and didn’t play to the best of their ability, as sometimes happens. But they still won and they only have two matches left to match the accomplishment of the football team, by going unbeaten for the season. Fortunately, Mr Salt didn’t make the same rash promise of KFC as Mr Chilcott did.

Today sees the U8s and U9s play against St. George’s Windsor and tomorrow the U9s, U10s and U11s all play in the Surrey Junior Rugby Festival. For those of you that are coming along, I look forward to seeing you and for those I don’t see, have a lovely weekend.



Prep News

Year 4 cake sale this morning was another busy one and in total raised an excellent £158.70 for the Senahasa Trust and Planting Promise charities. Well done boys!

Pre-Prep News

Firstly, we should like to say a very big thank you to all of you who bought books from the Travelling Book Fair this week.  In Pre-Prep we made a grand total of £645.00 and this equated to £345 in commission for our school library.  Very many thanks again.

Assemblies this week have been showing casing the amazing range of talent we have within the School.   Monday saw the final leg of the House Poetry competition with the children from Year 2 reciting their poems beautifully.  It was a fierce competition with some superb entries and the overall winner was Rocco Freedman.  Well done to all who took part.

James Nunn treated us to an excellent piano recital this morning in assembly – he chose to play a couple of pieces that he is practising for his forthcoming examination.  Thank you, James.

We know that the boys in Prep are working hard on their LION awards and to this end we shall be welcoming Ben Rowe back to Pre-Prep as he will be setting up a book sale to sell off his old books.  Ben will be here on Thursday 23 March at the end of the school day and will be donating all the funds he raises to his chosen charity.  Please do support Ben if you can!

Today in assembly the following awards were made:

The Courtesy Cup and Badge was awarded to Tasie Maheswaran (Year 2) for her kind caring ways towards others in school and for her helpful ways.

Star of the Week went to the following children:

Year 2:   James Phillips for trying really hard to be careful with his work.

Year 1:  Stephen Zhang for excellent progress with his reading.

Reception:  Charlie Freer for working very hard this week.

Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …

Well, as you might imagine, the arrival of the eggs in Kindergarten has dominated our week! Some of the children were lucky enough to actually see the chicks hatch and were surprised to see how difficult and tiring it was for them.  The children have spent long periods of time observing the chicks and noting the changes that have taken place. We have encouraged the use of correct vocabulary when talking about the chicks, and it has been lovely to hear the children use terms such as incubator, brooder box, male and female during their conversations with each other.  Our role-play area this week has been a vet’s surgery as we have talked about looking after living things and this morning, Mrs Tidy became our very own Vet in Residence! One of our little chicks was having difficulty opening his claws and, having taken advice from The Living Egg Company, set about making it a splint out of masking tape!  The children certainly experienced care and concern for living things at close hand! The children have been checking the Chicken Helper Rota, excitedly waiting for their turn.  Our number work this week has been linked to finding different ways of making ten. Through practical activities, the children have separated pretend eggs in different ways to find that the total is still 10.

We have been learning about Road Safety in Reception this week. We have learnt and discussed road safety, how Zebra and Pelican crossing work, finding a safe place to cross, and to follow the ‘Stop, Look, Listen, Think again before you cross the road’.

Our safety discussions have also led to some very interesting conversations about staying safe on our scooters and bikes and the importance of wearing a helmet. We also talked about being seen in the dark, wearing reflective clothing and why it is a good idea to put lights on bikes. The boys also discussed staying safe in cars by using car seats and seat belts.

On Thursday we were joined by the Junior Safety Officers from the Prep to help teach us how to stay safe and in control of scooters. The boys also loved using the Road Safety props to role-play crossing roads. The boys had the chance to drive the toy cars, be pedestrians, police and lollipop men!

On Thursday we were joined by the Junior Safety Officers from the Prep to help teach us how to stay safe and in control of scooters. The boys also loved using the Road Safety props to role-play crossing roads. The boys had the chance to drive the toy cars, be pedestrians, police and lollipop men!

The boys have painted their favourite vehicles, written about staying safe, and sequenced The Green Cross Code. In mathematics we have been counting to 100 and counting in 2’s and 10’s. In mental maths we have been practising finding a given number and adding and subtracting 1 or 2 to this number.

Year 1 have been writing some more rhyming poetry in English, and learning our sounds of the week – ‘sh’ and ‘th’.

In maths, we have been doing lots of adding and subtracting, and we learnt that if we are adding 3 numbers together, it doesn’t matter which order you put them in, they still add up to the same answer!

PE was great fun this week and we really enjoyed having our lessons in the sunshine – we learnt some more ball skills including dribbling, throwing and catching.

Our beans that we planted last week are growing really well on our classroom windowsills – at the moment Mrs Doyle’s is the tallest!

This week in Year 2 we have been thinking all about the seaside and writing sensory seaside poetry. The children have been trying hard to use similes and alliteration in their writing. We also had the final of House Poetry on Monday, which was judged by Mrs Campbell. The children did a wonderful job of reciting their poems clearly to their audience; it was a very close contest which was won by Rocco Freedman from Blue Team. Well done to all of Year 2 for taking part.

In maths, we have spent the week looking at the relationship between multiplication and division, using the times tables that we have been learning to help us. Today we had a go at solving some multiplication ‘arithmagons’.

In topic, we have talked about whether Sir Francis Drake was a hero or a villain. On Thursday we wrote our own diary entries imagining that we were going on a voyage into the unknown. In science we did an investigation into whether the mass of a vehicle affects how quickly it can travel down a ramp. Next week, we will be investigating air resistance by seeing whether the size of a parachute affects how quickly a soldier can descend to the ground.


headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster