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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 24

This Week

Dear Parents,

I am obliged to begin the Bulletin this week with a very warm ‘thank you’ to you all, in your capacity as members of the Hampton Pre-Prep & Prep Parents’ Association. Mr Darmon has been in touch with the Co-Chairs of the Association, and the purchase of some Games equipment for use during PE & Games sessions has been agreed. Two major items are now on order and they consist firstly of some cricket mats for use with boys in the Prep in the afternoons during the summer term. These can be rolled out to bat on and they will provide a much more consistent and more importantly safer bounce of the ball, especially for those boys whose cricketing skills are still very much at the developmental stage. Secondly, some Judo mats are being purchased. Judo is one of the important parts of our CCA provision from September onwards and with our own mats in situ we would then be able to use them for other purposes, such as gymnastics and indoor games lessons. These would also be used by pupils in the Pre-Prep when they come for their gymnastics and dance lessons. So, very many thanks indeed from us all!

I am very happy to update you all now on the exploits of our four colleagues who undertook the Isle of Wight Challenge over the Bank Holiday weekend, raising money for the charity MIND. Messrs Chilcott, Henderson, Salt and Wilson worked terrifically well as a team, supporting each other along the way. I am told the chatter between them all (there was plenty of it – can you imagine?) did diminish somewhat as they all reached the gruelling wee, small hours and recognised just how much more of the walk remained. They were undeterred however and all maintained their efforts with real grit and determination. They are an inspiration for us and they will explain more to the boys in the Prep next week just how the experience felt for them in one of our assemblies, which I am very much looking forward to. The entire walk took them 23 hours and 10 minutes and they raised the magnificent sum of just over £4000.00. Many thanks again to parents who very kindly donated.

It is important to me that parents feel they are working in tandem with us here, and in particular that parents understand just exactly what our expectations are, in terms of supporting at home what we are busy getting on with in lessons every day. We do expect our pupils to complete some further work at home, usually on a daily basis. As a reminder, we deliberately call this ‘prep’ at our school (not ‘homework’) because of the way in which it can function as preparation for further study at school the next day or slightly later.

One of the chief hopes we hold for you as parents therefore, is that you are able to provide and then support the conditions for your children to be getting on with tasks on their own. I do spend some time discussing with parents the anxieties that prep can bring – for children and adults alike – and do please rest assured that if ever any parents feel they need to come in and seek clarification from us on any matter to do with prep, we will be very happy to explain our rationale.

The notion of ‘talk’ has been central to our staff CPD programme this year and I was fascinated to read an article that Mr Arnold brought to my attention recently on this very topic. It seems to me that parents can often be mistaken in the belief that supplementary tuition is the only real way they feel they can make a difference to pupils’ progress and outcomes; the prep we wish your children to do is sometimes (subtly) described to me as a nuisance as it ‘gets in the way of the tutor’! From the article I was encouraged to discover that actually, what pupils claim they value the most from their parents is not how much extra help with school work from others that parents lay on, instead they seem to prefer access to their parents’ time. Children, it seems, are always very hopeful that they can just natter on to their parents, or indeed talk about more serious issues, so long as they have the time to do so. I have to say, this makes much sense to me. Life is pretty busy and to get to the heart of any matter does take time, especially if you wish to talk it through on all sorts of levels. If you are interested in reading the article you can access it here:

Have a great weekend,


Tim Smith


Sports News

So the cricket season is well under way and it’s been……….cold! But there has been no less enthusiasm shown. Last Friday four teams played against The Mall school in Carlisle Park. Although we ended up losing all four matches, three of them in particular were very close and it was just great to see the boys spread across the park enjoying themselves and being competitive.

On Wednesday five teams played against St. George’s Windsor. They have always traditionally put out Colts teams, which means the teams are a combination of year 5 and year 6 pupils. Therefore, we did the same and it was really interesting and pleasing to see the two year groups mix in such a way.

It was a very cold and slightly wet afternoon but all the boys were excited to be playing and across the board we were very competitive. In fact we won 3 of the 5 games. I was with the A team and I was a little concerned after our batting innings, as we posted what I thought was an under par total of 77. However, I was incredibly impressed by both our fielding and bowling performance.

Some extremely accurate bowling made the task very difficult for the opposition and when they were able to free their arms and play a shot our fielding backed up the great work the bowlers had been doing. As a consequence, we ended up winning by 8 runs and It was a great way to start the season.

The B team did equally well and were able to chase a score of 66 quite easily with Asa Jennings contributing with both bat and ball.

The C team struggled a little more but for many of this team, particularly those in year 5 it was their first time playing with a hard ball and batting with all the protective equipment on can take some real getting use to, so for those boys it was a big learning curve and I am sure they will be stronger for the experience.

The D teams and E team were both playing softball pairs cricket and this gave the teachers accompanying them a good insight into which of those boys would be able to take that step up in the coming weeks and attempt some hardball net sessions. The D team narrowly lost and the E team won.

In some other exciting news, we are delighted to be able to announce that on May 23rd we will be visited by Derek Randall, former England International Test cricketer. Mr Randall has kindly volunteered to take a coaching session with our year 4 pupils and we are all extremely excited to meet him and learn from his obvious expertise.

Today two U9 teams play against St. Benedict’s and tomorrow morning the U10 and U11 A teams are playing against Newland House. Next week sees the U8s play their first ever game and so for them it will be an exciting build up I am sure. Have a lovely weekend.


PRE-Prep News

Time seems to be flying by – can you believe we’ve only fifteen school days left until half term!  That said, there is a great deal to pack in and our programme of visits off site begins in earnest – in fact, Year 1 are set to visit Winchester Science Museum on Wednesday 10 May and the following week Year 2 will be heading to the Living Rainforest on Wednesday 17 May.

As mentioned in last week’s bulletin, Mr Smith will be present at next Monday’s assembly.  If you have any certificates and awards, please do send them in and will shall make sure that they are awarded by him.

In today’s assembly the following awards were made:

The Courtesy Cup and Badge was awarded Rory Walker (Year 2) for showing great kindness towards his friends.

Stars of the Week were awarded to:

Year 2:   Joseph Timba for working really hard all week and, in particular, asking Mrs Howell some interesting questions when she spoke to the class about the painting ‘Tropical Storm with a Tiger’.

Year 1: Ruark MacDonald for settling in so very well at his new school.  Well done!

Reception: Harry Cole for working extremely hard all week and finishing his jobs on time.  Harry also helps his friends at tidying up time.

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

Kindergarten learning has continued to be focused around the story of Jack and the Beanstalk.  The children have been encouraged to retell the story using a variety of props and had great fun acting out and responding to the story in the playground. Their actions and expressions were delightful and we look forward to sharing our photos of the retelling with you. The children also had fun exploring a range of instruments to use during our story telling. The tubular xylophone and cymbal were both popular choices.  They have also created natural sculptures to represent beanstalks and their artwork would be worthy of space in any gallery! We shall develop the idea of famous artists using nature in their paintings next week. Our cress seed experiment demonstrated beautifully the need for sun and rain to both be present in order for healthy growth to take place. The children have shown great interest in what they themselves need to grow and we shall explore the idea of healthy eating and good food choices with them in the coming weeks.

In Reception we have been learning all about frogs! We have been looking at the lifecycle of the frog, their habitats and what they like to eat. Frogs featured heavily in our Show and Tell session, including a tree frog, a croaking frog and books with lots of frog facts. We read the story The Princess and the Frog, a Ladybird tale book, and discussed, with our partners and as a group, the moral of the story; we decided it was; ‘If you make a promise you must keep it’.  Lastly we independently wrote about our favourite part of the story.

In expressive art and design, we made 3D jumping frogs off lily pads using paper. We also looked at the famous Monet painting ‘Waterlilies’ and painted our own version using watercolour paints.

In maths we continue to work on measurement, using a variety of objects which we then place into order. Our sunflower seeds are growing and we have enjoyed coming in each morning to see how much they have progressed. Please enjoy watching your sunflowers flourish at home and we look forward to hearing about how tall they actually grow. We also measured ourselves to the classroom height chart – we too, like our sunflowers, are growing healthily!

Year 1 have been continuing their work on fairy stories this week. We read Snow White together and the children wrote some wonderful character descriptions for Snow White, The Evil Queen and some of the Seven Dwarfs. On Wednesday we enjoyed listening to Mr Smith read an alternative story of Snow White, Snow White in New York, and on Thursday enjoyed designing a ‘Wanted Poster’ to try and capture the Evil Queen!

In maths, we have been learning about fractions, including halves and quarters. We revisited finding fractions of shapes and learnt how to find halves and quarters of even numbers. At the end of the week we solved problems by using our knowledge on fractions.

Today, Year 1 were keeping an eye on the weather, learning about the changes that take place in spring. We discussed what we see in spring and watched a colourful clip about the cherry blossom in Japan.

In English this week, Year 2 have begun learning about non-chronological reports. We learned that sometimes reports have words that we don’t know the meaning of and we used dictionaries to find definitions for these.

In maths we have learned about position and direction, using increasingly difficult vocabulary such as right angled turn and clockwise / anti-clockwise. As part of this we made ‘right angled monsters’ and on Friday we had to direct each other around an obstacle course in the playground.

In topic we looked at where in the world different rainforests are and labelled these on a map along with the seven continents. We were very grateful to Mrs Howell for coming in on Thursday afternoon to talk to us about the painting Tropical Storm with a Tiger, a painting that links in with our rainforest work.


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Tim SmithHeadmaster