Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 4

This Week

I was fortunate enough to experience a fleeting visit to Philadelphia a few weekends ago to help nurture and develop the game of Rugby Union in the United States. Our assembly themes for this term (responsibility and freedom) resonated strongly as my mind drifted to the challenges that the first settlers faced and how the country developed. My fascination for all things historical were sated by a tour to look at Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell as well as the first constitution. For the record in 1682, William Penn, an English Quaker, founded the city to serve as capital of the new colony. As the fledgling country developed Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and agreed the constitution in 1787. However, I am still a little confused as to where the Rocky steps fitted in, or why indeed the William Shakespeare statue was there as I was unaware of his overseas literary work!

Upon my return from the city of ‘brotherly love’ I was a little bleary eyed, but I was able to reflect upon and witness heart-warming sensations and similar virtues being displayed throughout our School. Possibly on a smaller scale, but since the beginning of term senior boys have been developing their Leadership skills and confidence with Mr Salt. A whole school, School Council has been democratically elected and met for the first time with Mrs Lutz. Independence of thought has been encouraged in all classes whilst senior pupils have expressed their growing sense of individuality and interests within mock interviews or even feeling liberated enough to wear a fez freely for fun. Others have demonstrated their developing skills with self-initiated research work that has encouraged them to discover the roles and feelings that their ancestors had during World War Two. Creativity was often required to solve the problems of the first travellers and our Year 3 team building exercise certainly gave much opportunity for discussion and communication skills.

We continuously challenge ourselves to develop our practice and despite a long standing relationship with the Tudor bard mentioned above Mrs Campbell inspired us all with our inaugural Poetry Party. It certainly demonstrated how the School community can work in partnership for the benefit of all. Boys, parents and staff worked collaboratively and with freedom to produce an epic early evening of enthusiastic productivity. It was wonderful to feel the tangible shared learning benefits of such a wonderful event. Thank you to Mrs Campbell and the cross curricular departments who all supported this opportunity. It was great to see so many Dads working with sons as well. I know from my own experience how powerful this can be. Pre-Prep have received this week their new Open Homework challenge. Last year the examples of thinking and presentation were awe inspiring. We look forward to seeing their journeys of discovery soon. 

Our community also welcomed intrepid visitors from overseas. Fortunately, they were not looking to invade or create new colonies but rather extend the hand of friendship. Many of these boys and girls had not experienced a trip away from home before and would have accomplished so much from this adventure including achieving crossing off one of my favourite words which is YET. Mr Darmon, his sporting colleagues and some very generous parental hosts created an amazing weekend for our guests from Guernsey. The generosity did not spread into the tournament and our boys showed determination and teamwork to win the trophy for the third year in a row. Well done to all who competed in great spirit and persevered even when results were not as they wished.  The House Swimming Gala also demonstrated the pupils’ skills in a fantastic feel-good atmosphere as we decamped to Hampton Open Air Pool last Friday. Some of the strokes were not instantly recognisable but all were very motivated to achieve for their House. I know these events take many hours to organise and the boys’ celebration and enjoyment of each other’s achievements was heartening.

Our Junior Safety Officers are often inspired and have created a plethora of initiatives over the last five years. They have also demonstrated a great deal of leadership and resilience and we are delighted to announce that Traffic for London have recognised their work and made us the ‘School of Excellence in Pupil led projects’. We have also been invited to attend a ceremony at City Hall to collect an award. Well done all of the boys who have held this role. Unfortunately, not all stakeholders are YET convinced of the need to travel to and from school considerately. Please be rest assured we will continue to strive to change behaviours.

My unashamed use of bold fonts and links have, I hope, made you think about our bespoke L.I.O.N Award Scheme (Leadership for Independence, an Opportunity to Nurture). Pupils in Year 3 to 5 are starting off or recommencing their next award. The impact it has had so far has been significant and so beneficial. The Parents who attended the SMT coffee afternoon this week were able to see the qualities and skills that we are trying to develop and it was obvious to all how proud the boys were about their accomplishments. To learn more about the L.I.O.N. please look for the email sent earlier in the week or investigate the School’s website. Alternatively ask me or a form teacher about it.

One final note: we welcome all visitors to St. Mary’s Church, Hampton, next week and look forward, like the early settlers, to an abundant and plentiful Harvest.

Have a great weekend!

Mr Richards 

Deputy Head Pastoral

Sports News

What a week that was. The sun was shining and it was as though we were back in the summer term as the sun cream and shades came out for our annual swimming gala. It couldn’t have been more of a contrast to the weather last year and it made for an excellent afternoon. Every single boy took part and by the looks of the viewing balcony every single parent was there to see them.

For all the boys that can swim I ensure that every single boy gets a minimum of two races. However, the more boys that can swim in the year the more races I am able to schedule and so naturally as the boys get older the more races they get. My challenge is to hopefully get the right balance between fun and competition. So the ‘three men on a float’ race and the ‘shallow end dash’ are great interludes to help release the pressure valve a little, giving everyone a chance to breathe after the relentless race schedule, that seems to see boys starting a new race every 30 seconds. I am not sure which is harder, the racing or the timekeeping.

However, whatever the race the boys put their best foot forward and I think there was some fantastic competition and a heap load of fun. The results were extremely close between fourth and first but it was Tudor house who came out on top, in no small part to one boy who broke four records. Tristan Thorpe really lived up to his name and there are now new records in the Year 6 front crawl, back stroke, breast stroke and freestyle. He didn’t just beat the records either, he pretty much smashed all four of them and it feels like it will be a long time before another boy gets near those times. Max Beesley in Year 3 also set a new record in the back stroke, a great performance in his first ever Hampton Prep swimming gala. If you were there to watch, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and we can only pray for the same weather next year.

Whilst we were competing in the pool, our visitors from Elizabeth College Junior School were playing football at Hampton school. You may recall last week that I told you that our long-time friends from Guernsey had landed. They kicked off their weekend with a tough fixture against an U12 Hampton side. Mr Sargent and Mr Sutton were delighted with their team’s performance and it was an excellent 4-4 draw I believe. They felt it was a really useful and worthwhile way to start their tour and we are hoping to make this a permanent arrangement each year.

On Saturday morning it was then time for us all to play football. Twelve teams from eight schools converged upon Hampton at 9am and our annual U11 6-a-side competition was under way. The teams were split into two groups of six, with everyone playing everyone in the group. Our A team boys were in group 1 and our B team boys were in group 2. Elizabeth College had their teams placed the opposite way round. Our B team had a tough morning but went on to have a couple of excellent games, in-particular managing a draw against Elizabeth College A team. In a strange co-incidence our A team boys dropped points when they drew against Elizabeth College B team. However, the final results saw our A team boys come second in the group and our B team come sixth in the group.

This saw the B team go through to play Elizabeth College B team and the A team boys go through to play the winners of the other group, which were King’s College, Wimbledon. This team had been on fire and had not conceded a goal, scoring fifteen in the process, so it was looking like a tough task. The matches were 10 minutes long and unfortunately the B team boys went down 4-1. However, in the A team game it was still 0-0, so five minutes of golden goal extra time was to be played and against all the odds it was our boys that scored the goal taking them through to the final.

In the final they met Surbiton High and it was looking like another 0-0 was on the cards, until around 8 minutes when we managed to sneak a goal and then really relieve the pressure with another one 30 seconds later, to see us lift the trophy for the third year in a row.

Another tremendous achievement and once again our football season Is looking very successful already. A lot of people helped out on Saturday morning and Friday afternoon and so I am very grateful to everyone for their help. A big thank you should definitely go to the families that hosted the boys from Elizabeth College. Such experiences are fantastic for the boys, but without you it wouldn’t be possible, so thank you very much.

Finally, this week saw the Year 5 and Year 6 boys play against St. George’s, Windsor. As is always the case, we play ‘colts’ matches against this school, meaning we combine the year groups to make 6 teams. It is a really good way for the boys to bond and it is interesting to see them interact with boys who they usually wouldn’t. The results were very varied across the board with wins and losses but more than anything it was just another good afternoon of sport.

Today sees us play St. George’s again but this time with Year 3 and 4. I will be at home with the Year 3 boys, so it will be interesting to see the progress that has been made since our last fixture against Bishopsgate.

Have a great weekend.

Mr Darmon

Head of Games and PE 

Prep News

Some photographs from our first Poetry Party! 


Pre-Prep News

By now you will have received a letter about this year’s Open Homework revealing the theme.  Do remember this can be tackled in any number of ways – as previously noted, we have been thrilled with the children’s interpretations over the past few years, ranging from drawings, paintings, sculptures, game ideas, scientific research and even short films! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

In connection with topic work about the 1950s, pupils in Year 2 took a step back in time, experiencing life in a 1950s classroom as well as sampling different foods from this era.  The children (and Miss Goscomb and Miss Horton) all embraced the theme wholeheartedly and we saw some fabulous costumes. Please see Miss Goscomb’s write up below for further details.

We have had several queries about the awards that feature in the bulletin each week.  The Courtesy Award (which comes with a cup and badge), is awarded each Friday to those displaying super manners and general kindness and helpfulness around the School.  Children in Reception to Year 2 are all potential recipients, but only one child is chosen each week (out of 63 children), so waiting for a turn requires plenty of patience! All members of staff in Pre-Prep have the opportunity to nominate for this award.  The cup stays in school and is displayed in the classroom of the winning child.  Stars of the Week, on the other hand, are selected by the Class Teachers and are awarded to those working hard in class and generally abiding by the Golden Rules.

We love to hear about the activities the children take part in out of school and our assembly each Monday provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate any such successes and rewards achieved at these out of school events.  If your child has something to share, we should love to hear about it – please send the award in with your child for the attention of their Class Teacher, together with a brief note or explanation.

With this in mind, Mr Smith awarded Izzy Gray (Year 2) with her certificate and badge from Swim England; she completed 100m in each of the following strokes – front crawl, backstroke and breaststroke.  Very well done, Izzy!

In today’s assembly the Courtesy Cup and Badge were awarded to Harry Cole (Year 1) for his super kindness towards his friends and his cheerful disposition.

and Stars of the Week to:

Year 2: Niam Thakrar-Vara for working very hard this week in all subjects and always being incredibly polite and kind.

Year 1:  Reuben Nicholson for his excellent handwriting progress.

Reception: Edward Wijnand for lovely news writing this week.

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

In Kindergarten, we have been looking at and discussing the signs of Autumn this week. We have enjoyed all the autumn materials brought into school for our topic table and great discussions were had about each item. We have been leaf printing, collaging a picture of a squirrel and making an autumn stained glass window picture.

We met Sammy the Snake who introduced us to our first sound of the Jolly Phonics scheme. We had fun peering into the feely bag for items beginning with the sound ‘s’ and thinking about other objects and names that begin with ‘s’.

On Friday, we joined our friends in small groups to visit our library where we sat down and enjoyed browsing at lots of different books. We then chose a book to bring home to share with our family.

Next week’s topic is Harvest and we will be making bread on Thursday. Our role-play area will be changed into a ‘restaurant’. We will also be introducing the sound ‘a’. We continue to work on the Golden Rules.

In Reception this week, we have talked lots about our bodies and the wonderful things we can do with them! We have labelled bodies, made pasta skeletons and learnt a skeleton dance. Our role play has become a Doctor’s surgery and the boys have had great fun bandaging sore arms, writing prescriptions and working in role as the doctor, patient, nurse and receptionist. We loved hearing all about some rather unusual ailments – one boy was treated for a dreadful case of tooth ache!

We have learnt the Jolly Phonics actions for c, k, h and e – and listened for these sounds in initial games. We have also focused on the correct formation of numbers 4 and 5 and talked about adding one and two more to unifix towers – asking the boys to work out the answer in their head first before checking by adding more blocks.

All the children have brought home reading books this week. In our reading sessions at school we talked about the illustrations and encouraged the boys to predict what they thought might happen next in the story.

The boys were excited to spot our new sounds that they recognised in the text, and we counted words on the page and letters in different words. We are now working on blending these sounds together to read simple words.

Please may we take this opportunity to ask you to leave your child’s sounds in their blue wallet and bring them in their book bags every day so that we can work on them at school.

This week Year 1 continued with their work on ‘Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present’ in English lessons. We worked on adding ‘ed’ to verbs to make them past tense and wrote about Father Christmas’s journey from the story. At the end of the week, we worked hard to remember finger spaces between words, placing a capital letter at the beginning of each sentence and a full stop at the end.

In maths, we have been leaning to recognise and name the properties of 2D shapes. The children have worked hard counting the number of sides and corners of shapes and recognising the difference between squares and rectangles.

In topic, we continued our work on ‘What makes a House a Home’ by learning our address and writing a postcard about our day at School.

Towards the end of the week, we have been rehearsing our Harvest Festival poem – please continue to learn the poem at home, over the weekend.

It has been a very busy week in Year 2! In maths, we have been learning how to add and subtract two-digit numbers and multiples of ten using our existing knowledge of numbers.

In English we heard the story ‘Diary of a Wombat’. We have been thinking about how to write in the first person (as a diary would be written), as well as in the past tense.

In science we learned about different food groups and the importance of having a balanced diet.

On Thursday we travelled back in time to the 1950s as part of our topic work. The classroom was transformed so that it had blackboards, tables in rows and no rubbers. The children and staff dressed up in 1950s clothes, tried food from the 50s (Spam was a big hit!) and some even had to write lines as punishments! It was a successful day and the children all enjoyed it and learned a lot about the era.

Lastly, a quick reminder, it is the Harvest Festival Service for Years 1-6 at St Mary’s Church, Hampton on Wednesday 3 October.  The service starts at 9.30am, therefore, to enable us to walk to the church we will be setting off from school very promptly at 9.00am.  We thank you in advance for your support in helping us to get to the church in time!

We hope you have a lovely weekend.