Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 12

This Week

Dear Parents,

I have been away from Hampton Prep this week, assisting with the inspection of another school. I am writing to you all from my now extraordinarily festive looking and festive feeling study, as in my absence a small number of stealthy elves got their boxes of Christmas decorations and baubles out of their lofts (well, one did at least – I think he might live somewhere near Reading? Keeps the other elves under control? Keen on his elf rugby?) and took it upon themselves to ensure I had a wonderfully seasonal themed room to come back to. It looks a bit like the Spirit of Christmas has exploded. Goodness me, how fortunate I am to work where such clever elves think so sympathetically of me!

I always find inspection a particularly fascinating experience because I just love seeing what goes on in other schools, no matter what. More importantly, having relatively unfettered access to the very heart and soul of another school always helps me to think about what we do here at Hampton Prep. It helps me on one level to reflect upon whether we are continuing to meet the standards required in terms of inspection – I am currently confident we are! Furthermore, seeing how other schools go about their business also acts as a source of inspiration for me and the team here regarding how we might seek to develop our provision, moving forward. My experience in another school this week was no exception.

While I was away, the Kindergarten nativity play took place and I was sad to have missed that as it is always such a joyous occasion. Mrs Murphy writes about the play in her Bulletin today but the quality of the children’s singing in particular really stood out this year, I am told. I also understand that it was greatly enjoyed by the parents and staff who were present.

Mr Richards has a message for you all now:

On Tuesday, past and present Junior Safety Officers accompanied Mr Powell and me to City Hall in Central London to attend an awards ceremony hosted by Transport for London for STARS Schools of Excellence. Fortunately for us the weather on the day allowed a majestically glorious view of the capital from the walk way at the top of City Hall!

Despite the picturesque panorama, particles of pollution pose plenty of problems. Coincidentally one of the workshops that the children attended encouraged us to continue campaigning for no idling at either drop off and collection times. Other sessions allowed us to consider our local issues and brainstorm with other schools. We were encouraged to start by tackling the little things that can turn into bigger actions.

The pupils came home rejuvenated and inspired. Ideas bounced around the carriage. ‘How do we get Year 6 to travel independently in preparation for senior schools?’ ‘What competitions could we run to increase awareness?’ ‘Why do parents ignore us when we ask them to turn off their engines?’ ‘How many cars have a Pupils’ Perfect Parking Protocol Windscreen Sticker displayed?’ ‘Could we create a living wall in the quiet area?’ ‘Could we get another 20 pupils a day to park and stride through the gates in Carlisle Park?’ ‘Would a clockwise traffic flow round Gloucester Road, Wensleydale Road and Broad Lane be effective?’

The pupils enjoyed the day and were delighted to receive their Excellence Award for Pupil Led Initiatives on behalf of the JSOs of the last five years. The London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and Transport for London publically recognised our pupils’ perseverance and determination to encourage Sustainable Travel that is Active, Responsible and Safe in spite of continued neighbourly angst. The school continues to work tirelessly behind the scenes and I may ask that you, as their parents, support the boys’ efforts by doing the little things right. As Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation and only one bad one to lose it.’

Colleagues here are starting to consider and input the grades representing our assessment of your children’s progress and effort this half term. No Policy representing such practices should exist without some flexibility I believe, and to that end we have been discussing the value of adding + and – symbols to the letter grades that we use to represent progress.

As a consequence, we agreed some pupils will see such symbols alongside their letter grades this time round. Mr Arnold and I thought it would be helpful to clarify how we here at school understand the function of these symbols thus:

  • The + grade indicates that the pupil is slightly exceeding the letter grade, but not by enough to warrant a move to the next grade up.
  • The grade indicates that the pupil is showing almost all of the elements necessary to meet the grade but not missing enough of them to move to the next grade below.

Going forward, we will carefully consider the use of the + and – symbols to decide if using them makes any measurable difference to the pupils’ understanding of their progress and how to develop it further. I do not imagine we will make any significant changes to our Assessment Policy before the next academic year however, and if we make any at all we will be sure to highlight them to you. Mr Arnold will be clarifying our colleagues’ use of the + and – symbol to all the boys in the Prep in an assembly next week, before the grade sheets come home.

I am looking forward to tomorrow’s Christmas Fair enormously! Do please remember that the gate in from Carlisle Park will be open. If you are travelling by car tomorrow do please consider parking on the Wensleydale Road side of the park and walking across from there. Carol Service rehearsals are also all but complete and that is the next very enjoyable event that I am looking forward to, due to begin on Monday evening at 6.30pm.

Next week there will be no Bulletin, as I shall be sending you my customary end of term letter instead.

Have a great weekend,


Tim Smith


Sports News

Alas the sporting term has come to an end. Those warm Indian summer afternoons are a distant memory and the under layers and beanie hats are now common place, all of which signals the start of the rugby season. It has been an action packed football term and it has raced by in the blink of an eye. I can’t believe it was early September when we all got together on that scorching afternoon for our swimming gala and then met the next morning for our football tournament at Hampton school. Especially, as I am writing this after just planning my first rugby session of the year; whilst wondering how to make sure we keep the boys moving for as long as possible, so as not to stand around and get too cold on this rather chilly afternoon.

There was success for everyone this season. For some teams it was to go unbeaten, for others it was to score a goal; but for every boy there has been a time this term when they and their team overcame adversity, showed resilience and tenacity and in doing so progressed both individually and as a group. All of which means, we as the games department have fulfilled our aim.

We may not be the best footballer, in fact very few of us are; but understanding that when we’re not the best at something we need to try even harder at it, is a message we are continually giving to the boys. Therefore, I take great pleasure in seeing boys who may not be the most naturally talented persevere and gain rewards accordingly. In fact, for me this is more satisfying than seeing the star player score a wonder goal………it is a pretty close run thing though.

This perseverance and all round excellent attitude was shown in spades this week for our last round of fixtures against Willington. On Tuesday the U8s were away and the U9s were at home and every single boy was involved; which was a lovely way for them all to finish the season. The U8s faired a little better in the overall results, but there were wins, draws and losses across the board and it was great to see the culmination of a lot of hard work this term, by staff and pupils alike.

The next day saw the same scenario for the U11s. It was their last ever football fixture for the school and it was satisfying that every single boy got to play. The C and D teams were combined and they went on to play some really hard fought and excellent football, which resulted in a 4-1 win and lots of smiling faces in the team photo at the end. The B team draw in what turned out to be a humdinger of a match and the A team continued their fine form with another good win. Ultimately, I hope everyone was pleased with the way all the boys were able to round off their Hampton Prep football careers.

So as already mentioned, today we turn our focus to Rugby. Some are excited, some are nervous, some are quite frankly pretty grumpy about it. However, as always, we will continue with our message and encourage everyone to work hard and no doubt I’ll be able to sit here in three months and once again tell you that everyone overcame adversity, everyone at some point smiled and had fun and everyone progressed.

Thank you for your support this term. I hope you all have a lovely peaceful holiday and I look forward to seeing you on the side-lines in January.

Merry Christmas.

Prep News

In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Jamie Searancke and Richard Baker (4H) Conor Harding (4S) For completing the Reach for the Stars Programme, demonstrating continued effort and progress in reading and spelling. Vasily Uskov (3L) and Bertie Bishop (3W) For completing my first voyage on the Reach for the Stars Programme, demonstrating continued effort and progress in reading and spelling. Well done to those boys!




The Hampton School Uniform Shop will close for the Christmas holiday at 1pm on Friday 15 December.

It will re-open before the start of the new term on Friday 5 January 2017 from 10am to 4pm. Appointments are not necessary and the school shop pupil accounts will not be open on that day.

Normal hours will resume on Monday 8 January.

Thank you and Merry Christmas from the School Shop!

Pre-Prep News

We can hardly believe this is the last bulletin of the term; the last couple of weeks have been extremely busy, packed with different events and it is all credit to the children that they have handled changes to the normal routine very well indeed.  Next week is no exception as our Christmas Festivities reach a crescendo!

Before we move to next week, it has to be said Kindergarten instilled the Christmas spirit in us all this week with their delightful performance of ‘Donkey for Sale’.  The boys sang and acted beautifully and we were immensely proud of them.

Some quick reminders about next week – firstly, Parents’ Visits take place on Monday.  We do hope that you will be able to come along to see your child’s classroom and share their work.  Please see the School Calendar for specific timings.

We have the much-anticipated Christmas Merrie on Thursday (14 December). All children may wear their own clothes to school on that day – nothing too smart though, as the activities may get a little messy!  For those of you new to the School, we immerse ourselves in a carousel of Christmas activities, not only is it the greatest of fun but the children get to work alongside friends from their colour team for the whole morning.

Don’t forget the end of term is on Friday (15 December) at 11.45 am, please note all points of collection will be from the playground – please enter via the blue side gate.  Mrs Murphy will be on gate duty to ensure the safe departure of all.

The following children successfully completed a term of judo and in recognition received a certificate in assembly: Sebastian Baker (Year 2), Teddy Clarke (Year 2), Archie Skinner (Year 2),

Aarav Tegginamath (Year 2) and Lucas Woods (Year 2).  Lucas also achieved player of the week on November 26 for his rugby team, Twickenham RFU and won a trophy – well done!

Sebastian Baker (Year 2) completed his first Karate grading this week, earning his red stripe belt.

Well done to Raphael Kothakota (Reception) for running 21 park runs, this equates to the distance of a marathon and his second is well underway already, as he has already run three more park runs!

Harry Sinnett (Year 1) received a certificate from Rosslyn Park RFU for playing for the U6 team.

We loved hearing from Harry Morris (Year 1) about his latest badge achieved at Beavers.  He is a member of the 3rd Hampton Scout Group and has just gained his first aid badge; he impressed us greatly in assembly this morning explaining how to put someone into the recovery position – what a great life skill to have.

In assembly today, the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Jonah Miles (Reception) for his beautiful manners and the care he shows to his friends.

 and Stars of the Week to the following pupils:

Year 2:  Josh Sharma for working really hard to tell the time this week.

Year 1: Jasper Olney for excellent all round effort and progress.

Reception: Arthur Hanna for fantastic reading and working hard all term – well done!

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

It has been a very festive week in Kindergarten. The children have used paint, pens and glue to make their Christmas cards to bring home to their families next week.  They have also made a gift for Mummy and Daddy and look forward to designing their own Christmas gift-wrap and tag next week to put the final touches to it. There has been lots of paint and glitter as each child decorated their own wooden decoration to hang on their Christmas tree. The highlight of the week, however, was our Donkey for Sale production. The boys put on such a great performance and seemed to have enjoyed every minute of it. One child was overheard saying ‘that was the best day ever’ and we could not agree more – very well done Kindergarten!

This week in Reception we have enjoyed celebrating the start of Advent. Each day we have opened our animal advent calendar with excitement and begun the countdown to Christmas – 17 days to go! We read the story of The Perfect Christmas Tree and talked about what our perfect trees would look like. The children drew beautiful pictures of their trees and wrote about them using at least two adjectives.  In our phonics sessions this week we have been learning about digraphs – two letters that make one sound.  We have focused on ‘sh’ and ‘ch’ this week, and had fun sorting objects into two hoops, listening for the initial sounds. We used phoneme frames to write three phoneme words like sh/o/p and ch/i/p.  In mathematics, we have focused on estimation, and talked about what it means to make a “good guess”.  We are looking forward to showing you all the things we have been busy learning about during Parents’ Visits on Monday at 3pm.

This week in maths Year 1 have been learning about money. We have been learning how to recognise coins and notes and then worked on building amounts up to 10 and 20p. The children worked carefully, using their addition skills to select the correct coins to use.

In English, we watched Mog’s Christmas Calamity. We talked about what went wrong for Mog the cat and how she may have been feeling. We used our discussion to write speech bubbles so show what Mog might have been thinking.

In maths Year 2 have been revising how to tell the time to the nearest quarter of an hour. They then learned how to tell the time to the nearest five minutes; they had to think really carefully about where the hands were pointing to do this and used plastic mechanical clocks to help them.

In English, we have continued our work on traditional tales. We have been learning how to add speech marks into our writing to show when someone is speaking. We also learned how to write character descriptions and had to describe Little Red Riding Hood’s looks and personality from the Wolf’s point of view.

Our science lesson was noisy this week! We made different circuits using switches and buzzers. In topic we learned about treats from the past and made our own Christmas themed cupcakes. We then learned about music from the past and heard songs from The Beatles, The Jackson5 and Frank Sinatra among others.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas from all in Pre-Prep – have a wonderful holiday!  We look forward to seeing you back in school on Monday 8 January 2018.




The Hampton School Uniform Shop will close for the Christmas holiday at 1pm on Friday 15 December.

It will re-open before the start of the new term on Friday 5 January 2017 from 10am to 4pm. Appointments are not necessary and the school shop pupil accounts will not be open on that day.

Normal hours will resume on Monday 8 January.

Thank you and Merry Christmas from the School Shop!