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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 14

This Week

Dear Parents,

There are very sunny skies overhead this lunch time, as I write, and this is excellent as we are all trying our very best to remain really positive here at the Prep this week. It is probably fair to say, (and in fact I have said it once or twice to parents in meetings today, as it happens) that Year 6 boys really are up against it this week, regarding the 11+ process. For some their exams are almost over, for some they are half way through and for some the process has very definitely concluded. Our main focus for all the boys, Year 6 especially, is on keeping spirits raised, marching about with cheerful looks on our faces, a cheerful sound in our voices and thinking about and praising – when we can – the effort the boys are all putting in. I expect this is being replicated at home for the boys concerned. Numbers of Year 6 parents are in touch with me at the moment and as ever, if any of you wish to speak to either of the Year 6 Form teachers or anyone on the senior staff team regarding 11+ matters, do please just get in touch.

At morning break time on Wednesday this week I was invited to attend a School Council Meeting. It was an excellent meeting and I was thrilled to have been there. The School Council Reps conducted themselves really sensibly and quite seriously, it has to be said, as they debated back and forth various matters that their class had asked them to put forward. There was a good number of actions arising out of the meeting, some of which will result in some changes fairly soon to how we do things here, whilst the Council recognised that some matters will need further consideration, consultation and debate. It all felt very grown up to me. I was really impressed with the contributions of our two School Council Reps from Year 2 in particular. They were not at all shy about expressing their views in the end, making sure the Pre-Prep did not miss out on having their views heard!

Year 4 deserve a special mention this week too. They travelled safely and happily, as I understand it, on public transport into central London on Wednesday to spend the day visiting The Golden Hinde. These sorts of excursions are important for us, as all sorts of excellent learning took place that could not have occurred otherwise. Mr Richards was one of the staff members accompanying the trip and he was anxious to report to me that once again, some members of the public had commented to him upon how very well behaved our boys had been. This sort of feedback means a great deal to all of us; views from strangers about our pupils’ excellent behaviour, which confirms what we already think and feel, is always very helpful and reassuring.

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith


Sports News

This week has seen plenty of action for all age groups and today is a really exciting day for our U8s as they will play their first ever game of rugby for Hampton Prep. I will talk more about that exciting prospect a little later on.

Saturday the U10 A and B teams played against Newland House. It was a great start to the season for both teams, with two good wins. However, what was more impressive was how both teams responded to their respective team talks at half time. Each received some very specific instruction that their coaches believed would improve their performance and in both cases the boys reacted and started to do the things they were advised to. This isn’t elite level rugby, what we’re interested in is each and every boy working hard to improve their own performance and as teams working hard to produce an effective team performance. Therefore, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a team change their course of action and for them to see the benefits of that change.

On Monday we were hoping to get a final training session in for the U11 age group before their first game against King’s House. However, as I am sure you can remember Monday was a pretty soggy day and the relentless rain in the morning and a few final downpours just before we were due to start our games session, meant that the pitches were in no fit state to be used; in deed one in particular could literally have been used for a swimming gala.

However, the skies did clear and the rain did abate and so I was keen for the boys to be active in some way. Fortunately for me, I also needed to start the process of picking a cross country team for an event that Epsom College are holding in March. Therefore, this seemed like the perfect opportunity. The perimeter of the park was usable and it meant all the boys got to give it their best shot to make the team.

When I was at school cross country was never the most popular of events. If the first ten were going to be picked, then everyone would do their best to be 11th. It made for a slow race. However, I can honestly say that I was astounded by the boys’ attitude to the task and I have never seen boys so enthusiastic to run around a park 3 times. I am sure there were some who did not relish the prospect, but based on the effort that I saw the boys put in, I’d be hard pushed to tell you exactly who.

I told the boys it would be the first twenty who would go through to a second trial where I will then take the first twelve boys to the competition. As much as I was mightily impressed with all those who came in the top twenty, and there were some amazing performances from individuals to make that list, it was some of the boys who came a little bit further down that really made me proud. Their resilience to keep going and not take the easy option of stopping for a little walk, was testament to their attitude and put a smile on the face on all those in the Games department that afternoon.

On Tuesday afternoon the U9 A and B team were involved in their first competitive action of the year when they competed in a festival hosted by The Mall. I was with the A team and the boys made a very strong start with three wins from three in their pool. If you consider that it was a week to the day when they first learnt to tackle, their performance was pretty remarkable. The pools then got re-jigged based on the results from the opening pool and another three games were then to be played. Unfortunately, these didn’t go quite so well and I think fatigue played a part but the boys could be proud of their first outing. The B team had a tough start but got better and better as the afternoon went on and recorded a couple of wins before the finish. There were a number of boys that showed their mettle and will no doubt be in the running for a spot in the A team very soon.

It was the turn of the U11s on Wednesday as all four teams and every single boy in the year group travelled to King’s House. King’s House are always a tough competitor as they are a bigger school than us. Naturally this makes it difficult to compete against them but we have more than held our own against them in the past two years. However, they started their rugby fixtures at the end of November and this was their fourth game of the season.

This was certainly apparent in the A team game where our boys looked rusty. We have only had two training sessions and we missed out on some key time on Monday with all the rain. Consequently, we found ourselves 3-0 down pretty early on. That said, we started to find our feet midway through the first half and it was 3 tries to 2 at half time. We held our own for large parts of the game but ended up going down 6-3. However, a positive was that we were by far the better team at the breakdown and it was this that we worked on last week. If we can develop other areas of the game in the same way, we’ll certainly have a successful season.

In the other games it was a similar story with both the B and C teams losing. However, it was the D team who flew the flag for the school and they put in a sterling display to win 12-9. Mr Richards was ecstatic about some of the great play that the team displayed and It is great to know that there is such enthusiasm running throughout the age group.

Today the U9s take two teams to Bishopsgate and finally the U8s get to make their debut. All four teams and every single boy in Year 3 will be playing this afternoon and start what I hope will be their long rugby journey.  What an exciting day it must be for these boys and I just hope they get as much enjoyment from the game as so many of us have had over the years before them.

Finally, I would like to congratulate six boys who have been selected for the Prep Schools’ Lions development squad. This is a district representative team and over 500 children took part in the trials; so Daniel Gray, Alessandro Tafuro, Savan Soni, Thomas Deedman, Charles Gavin and Harry Wilson should all feel very proud of this achievement. This squad will attend a training camp in the Easter holidays and then the prestigious Gothia World Youth Cup in Gothenberg, Sweden in July. I hope they enjoy and make the most of this amazing opportunity and we as a school are all very proud of them.

Prep News

Last Friday Year 5 held their cake sale in aid of Planting Promise and Senahasa Trust this raised a grand total of £163.35 which is a new cake sale record! Well done Year 5 a great start to this terms fundraising efforts!


Pre-Prep News

Our assembly theme this half term is ‘Breaking the Rules’ and as part of our work we have been considering occasions when it could possibly be acceptable not to follow rules.  We have had a number of interesting discussions about this so far but we look forward to more in the coming weeks.

Today in assembly, the Courtesy Cup and Badge were awarded to Freddie Richards (Reception) for his excellent listening skills in assemblies.

and Stars of the Week to the following pupils:

Year 2: Harriet Dumbrell for excellent hard work in all curriculum areas – well done!

Year 1:  Eddie White for settling into his new school so very well.

Reception: Rishi Schneider for his lovely piece of writing about a penguin coming to stay – well done!

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

We have continued our winter topic in Kindergarten, looking at the type of animals that we might see in the Arctic. We found out that polar bears, harp seals, the Arctic hare and the Arctic fox all live in the cold Arctic. We used white chalk to draw a polar animal on black paper. We also looked at ‘An Impression of Winter’ by Claude Monet and ‘New England’ painting by Jay Folger. We studied the pictures carefully, thinking about how they made us feel and looked at the cold colours that both artists had used. The children then used oil pastels to create their own cold winter art.

As a group, we filled an ice cube tray with water and put it in the freezer. The next day, we collected the tray from the freezer and were very excited to find that the water had turned into ice. We each held onto the ice and explained to our friends how it felt. Our hands must have been nice and warm as the ice melted quickly. We then put lots of ice cubes with our Arctic animals and explored how all the ice cubes changed back into water.

Our topic next week is ‘The Solar System’ and our sound is ‘m’.

Brrrrrrr, it has been a chilly week here in Reception, as we have taken a trip to Antarctica to meet some penguin friends! We have been reading lots of penguin stories this week, and used these to inspire our independent writing. We wrote about what could happen if a penguin came to stay; some children thought they would have fun with their penguin at the park, some took him to the theatre, and one little boy thought they could go to the beach together to make “sand penguins” – what a sweet idea! We read an information book about penguins and learnt some penguin facts – we learnt that daddy penguins carry the egg on their feet for two months, with no food at all before the egg is ready to hatch – we all thought that sounded like a very tough job indeed. Ask your child to describe how the mummy penguin feeds their chick on their return; we were all amazed to learn about this process! Making 3D penguins, which can stand up, helped to develop our skills using the stapler, scissors and glue – we talked about different joining and fixing methods, and which were most appropriate for this job.  In mathematics, we have focused our learning on addition concepts. We have used practical objects to explore adding groups, and then related these to written number sentences. We also experimented with freezing water – the children helped to pour water into gloves (to make Jack Frost hands), ice cube trays and with some plastic fish. There was then an anxious wait while the freezing process took place. Next we made predictions about the best conditions for melting – to free our little fish friends! Next week we will be taking part in some more scientific experiments during our ‘Senses’ week.

Year 1 have been reading the counting book ‘We all went on Safari – A counting journey through Tanzania’. We have enjoyed writing our own sentences, expanding them each day by adding numbers as words and adjectives. Year 1 were extremely interested to hear about the Maasai people of East Africa, we spoke about their way of life and how they dress.

In maths, we have been learning about odd and even numbers up to 20. We have worked on finding pairs and counting up in groups of 2. At the end of the week, we looked at repeating patterns.

In topic we continued our work on weather by writing a report on the day’s weather and our favourite weather condition.

We finished the week with writing a materials song in science to the tune of ‘Frere Jacques’.

Nelson Mandela’s fight against Apartheid has been in our thoughts again this week in Year 2 as we have enjoyed learning some more facts about his interesting life.  In science, we have been conducting investigations to make various materials waterproof with oil pastels and crayons.

Money matters have kept us busy in maths this week, as not only have we been working hard at making totals with different coins, but we have also been practising recognising and using the symbols for pounds and pence.  Our week concluded with some money word problems, which saw us drawing on our knowledge of the different number operations to work steadily through to the solution of each question.

In literacy, we have been using perfect punctuation and amazing adjectives to write our own versions of Little Red Riding Hood.  The fairy tale theme continued today with performances of Hansel and Gretel – we had such fun using different props to retell the story but, more importantly, it was exciting to work in collaboration with friends.

Have a lovely weekend.

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster