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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 8

This Week

Dear Parents,

Mrs Murphy and her team at the Pre-Prep go about trying to develop the boys’ and girls’ reasoning skills in all sorts of ways, all of which are excellent in my opinion. I (possibly) nudge her carefully orchestrated and very well led approach off-piste a bit at times, as I read a story each week to a different Pre-Prep class. I have to say, I am always bowled over by much of what even very young children say to me, by way of explanations about the story they have heard. This week I read Up and Down by Oliver Jeffers (it’s brilliant – and beautiful – by the way) to Reception and it was wonderful to see so many hands going up in response to the questions I was asking, which I had deliberately designed to draw the children’s reasoning out of them. Many of them were able to explain to me how they knew why certain events had happened in the book and good numbers of them were also able to make very intelligent guesses about what they thought was going to happen next, and explain why. The thirty minutes or so I spend reading aloud to the Pre-Prep pupils, and talking about the book with them, remains a highlight each week for me.

Mr Campbell and the maths department played an important, specific part in pupils’ reasoning development this week, with two teams led by him competing in two different maths challenges. The first, a local Primary and Prep School maths derby held at Radnor House School, saw 13 local schools competing against each other to solve word based maths problems. The Hampton Prep team made it through to the final play off, which ended with us losing in the tie breaker elimination round with a question about the circumference of planet earth. The second maths event saw us competing locally in the National Young Mathematicians’ Award, run by NRICH, a mathematics support subsidiary from the University of Cambridge. The boys had to solve one major word based problem and present their solution to a panel of judges. We will hear how they got on once results are published next week!

Mr Salt made a significant contribution to the boys’ developing reasoning ability in the Prep this week, when he led us through his assembly on Monday based upon our theme, which is the word ‘freedom’. His ideas were rich and varied and culminated in his presentation of a maths problem of sorts: his (so-called and self-styled) ‘Equation for Freedom’. Mr Salt explained that in his mind, Education + Opportunities + Hard work + Learning What You Want From Life = Freedom to Choose Your Responsibilities = Freedom.

This was a very interesting take on the theme and of course it led us all very aptly into Mr Richards’ assembly this morning, which was exclusively devoted to preparing the boys for Remembrance events due to take place across the nation this weekend. It was, as ever, a very moving assembly and plenty of boys in Year 6, along with Mr Powell, Mr Sweetland and Miss Webster, assisted him with it. Everyone who spoke was tremendously engaging and there was a beautifully and very cleverly choreographed moment when all the boys moved together in formation to spell out the word ‘freedom’, using cards they had all been holding and reading from. It was very powerful.

We were then very happy to welcome Year 2 and our Pre-Prep colleagues, along with Governors and parents to our Act of Remembrance which began just before 11.00am. That ceremony culminated in us laying wreaths at the War Memorial in Hampton and against our commemoration beech tree, in our garden at the Prep. Our Guest of Honour at today’s commemorative events was WWII veteran, Mr Chris Millar. The boys in Year 6 were able to ask Mr Salt and him questions about their time in the military and how that has shaped the remainder of their adult lives ever since. We are all incredibly grateful to Mr Millar for giving up his time to talk to the boys; this is history really coming alive and an experience, I hope, they will hold onto forever.


Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith


Sports News

It has been a very busy week but before I fill you in on what has gone on I first need to tell you about house football last Friday.

As I mentioned last week house football is probably up there with house rugby and sports day as the most eagerly awaited sports event of the year, so it is safe to say excitement levels were at a high as the morning progressed. Luckily the weather was great and Mr Smith and I were of the agreement that we had never seen so many parents at an event. Interestingly, we also said that about the swimming gala, so I am really pleased how we as a school community are embracing these whole school sports events. I fully understand It can’t be easy to attend such events during the working week and for some it is simply impossible; so I am extremely grateful to all those that make the effort, because it certainly helps to make these afternoons all the more exciting and worthwhile.

The competition across the board was extremely competitive and played with a great spirit with fair play at the core of the afternoon. The result was a very close run thing, particularly in year 3 where I had to trawl back through all the fixtures to find a result to one game between two houses, to try and establish a final order in the year 3 and 4 competition.

The year 5 and 6 competition was a little more clear-cut but when all the results were collated it was Lancaster house that were the victors and their name will be engraved on the house football trophy for the second year in a row. It was Tudor that won the house swimming competition so it will be interesting to see if a different house can force their way onto the cross-country and rugby trophies next term.

Now to this week. On Tuesday all the boys in year 3 played at home against Surbiton High. This means we put out four teams and it was an excellent set of games. In total there were 2 draws 1 loss and 1 win, so the spoils were shared so to speak. I was with the A team; these boys have been doing really well so far this year and there is some exciting talent in the team. However, I felt we were a little off the pace on Tuesday, for reasons unbeknown to me and we seemed to make life hard for ourselves and went into half time a goal down. There was a little more spring in their step in the second half and they equalised reasonably soon after half time. However, unfortunately one minute before the end of time things didn’t go our way and the visitors scored from a free kick just outside the area. It was the B team who won 2-1 with both the C and D teams drawing. A good competitive afternoon of football.

On Wednesday both the U10s and U11s were also playing against Surbiton High. In the U11 fixture the C team produced a convincing win and there was some good quality passing on show. The B team won a relatively close game but this was nothing in comparison to the A team who found themselves 3-0 down only to win 4-3 with Charlie Gavin scoring the winner in the last minute. I talked last week about resilience, well these boys showed it in spades.

In the U10 fixture it was three more wins with the A team winning 8-2, the B team winning 2-0 and the C team winning 5-0. Unbelievably we are coming towards the end of our football season with only a handful of fixtures left. I made this point to the boys at the start of the week and therefore how important it is for them to approach every games session with the utmost focus, particularly if they had inspirations to move up a team before the end of the season. We have seen a fair bit of movement over the past few weeks and there is still time for boys to force their way into the team above.

Next week we have fixtures against Claremont and Twickenham Prep but even more exciting than that the U10s depart for their tour to Manchester, where they will play against Altrincham Prep on the Friday afternoon and then visit both the National Football Museum and Old Trafford on the Saturday. It’s going to be an exciting weekend and I’ll fill you in on our exploits in a couple of weeks.

Prep News

In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Richard BakerJamie Searancke (both 4H) For completing the Reach for the Stars Programme demonstrating continued effort and progress in reading and spelling. Elijah Wilkinson (4H) For being a ‘West End’ star completing a 3 month run starring in Evita. Joseph Gordon (5C) and Monty Hunt (5H) For exceeding expectations with the ‘Reading Challenge’ – going above the demands of the task set, and proved it in an unusual and spectacular way! Christopher Bathurst (5H) For completing the Reach for the Stars Programme demonstrating continued effort and progress in reading and spelling. Alessandro Tafuro (6L) For an excellent self-initiated piece of curve stitching. Kessan Konesakumar (6C) For a thoughtful and thought provoking characterisation in a drama lesson. Well done to those boys!

Pre-Prep News

We have been considering the word ‘freedom’ in our assemblies since half term, pondering the fact that we as human beings, have ‘free will’  – we can make clear choices about our lives, our moral stance and what we do.  As Mr Smith noted in a recent assembly, we have the freedom to choose whether we are healthy and this led on to a great debate about what this actually means on a day-to-day basis, through exercise and healthy food choices.

Naturally, this week our thoughts have turned to Remembrance Day and, in particular, thinking about and remembering with thanks those who have given their lives in sacrifice so that we can live in a more secure, ‘free’ world.  Year 2 joined in with Prep’s acts of remembrance today and Miss Goscomb reports they behaved impeccably during their visit.  We know that some of our children will be taking part in special parades this Sunday with Beavers and Rainbows – we wish them well with this very important task.

This week we have been able to share the children’s achievements out of school.  Firstly, Sebastian Baker (Year 2) gained his Beaver’s ‘Adventure Challenge’ badge last weekend for embarking on all sorts of outdoor endeavours, for example, climbing.  Sebastian has promised to bring in his uniform to show us his growing badge collection.

Archie Skinner (Year 2) received a certificate and medal for climbing Ben Nevis during half term – it took him just under six hours to complete this magnificent feat!

We also congratulated Asher Holmes (Year 1) for successfully completing the Pedal Project – very well done!

Animal Agents, the 2017 Summer Reading Challenge in libraries, encouraged children aged four to eleven to try to read six library books during the summer holidays to inspire them to read for pleasure and to maintain literacy levels over the summer.  4,207 children in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames signed up for the challenge, and an astounding 3,378 children are congratulated for managing to read six books.  At Hampton Pre-Prep,   we were therefore delighted to award certificates to the following children:  Thomas Chivers (Year 1), Ben Deedman (Year 2), Harriet Dumbrell (Year 2), William Dumbrell (Year 2), Harry Morris (Year 1), Jack Morris (Kindergarten), Wilfred Nercessian (Reception), Reuben Nicholson (Year 1), Aarav Tegginamath (Year 2) and Finlay Timba (Year1).

Today in assembly, the Courtesy Cup and Badge were awarded to Robert Wijnand (Reception) for his beautiful manners and helpfulness in school.

and Stars of the Week to the following pupils:

Year 2: Julia Brock-Talman for trying really hard to improve her joined up handwriting.

Year 1:  Theo Heath for fantastic reading progress.

Reception: Arjun Dudhe for working hard to form his letters.  Well done, Arjun!

Also in assembly today, James Nunn (Year 2) played two of his Grade 2 piano pieces – ‘Allegretto’ by the English composer and organist Thomas Attwood and ‘Song’ by the German composer Carl Reinecke.  James played both pieces superbly well – thank you!

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

We have been surrounded by shapes this week in Kindergarten. We have looked at different 2d shapes and have been learning their correct names. We found many objects in our classroom that were the same shapes as those we were learning about. We have enjoyed using shaped sponges to print our own shape pictures, and using foam shapes to create and collage a picture. We also used the oval and circle sponges to print the tummies on our painted penguins for our winter display. On the Interactive Whiteboard, we used the special pens to trace over the lines of the big shapes. In phonics, we discovered the sound ‘p’. Next week we will be learning about the ‘The Gingerbread Man’.

This week Reception have focused our learning on the topic of fireworks. We have read some exciting (and noisy!) firework poems. We talked about adjectives we could use to describe the beautiful displays we saw, then we used this vocabulary to write some fantastic firework poems. We were excited to become authors and illustrators and the boys will bring home copies of their poems next week. In mathematics we used the hundred square to help with some simple addition problems – we hopped on one square to find the answer to one more questions. We read the story Inside, Outside, Upside Down to learn about positional language – we gave instructions to a partner, asking them to put a teddy bear in all sorts of funny places! Poor Teddy didn’t like being under the box at all! We have created some super sparkly firework art and used pom poms, ribbon, gems and glittery pipe cleaners to make transient art on black paper.  The boys learnt about why we commemorate Remembrance Day and thought about those who lost their lives in the war. We talked about the significance of poppies and painted some of our own.

Year 1 have continued their work on rhyming words and made lists about their likes and dislikes. At the end of the week they used their lists to write another verse to the poem ‘Love it, Hate it!’ working hard to use rhyming couplets.  In maths, we have been counting on and back in groups of 2s, 5s and 10s, looking at the patterns each of these jumps make.  We have continued with our topic ‘What Makes and House a Home’ by looking and reading about what life was like in a Victorian house and comparing it to what we see in our own homes today.

In maths Year 2 have been learning all about fractions! We have looked at halves, quarters, three quarters and thirds of shapes and numbers. We have also solved word problems involving fractions.

In English we have been writing poems about what we might have seen on the way to school. In our grammar lesson we revised how to use capital letters and full stops.

In science we learned about renewable and non-renewable energy. We then made pinwheels to see how a wind turbine moves. We learned about toys from the past in topic – Miss Goscomb brought in her Dad’s toys from when he was little so we could see the differences between toys in the past compared to now. We had fun designing and making our own wooden peg dolls.

Have a lovely weekend.


headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster