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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 30

This Week

Dear Parents,

This time last week there was great excitement in the air as we were all preparing ourselves for our major musical extravaganza that is ‘The Hampton Prep Proms & Picnic’! It was a tremendous success in my opinion, all the more so for me having almost nothing to do with its preparation, rehearsal or performance. All credit went of course to the boys for being such brilliant musical superstars and to my colleagues for ensuring the boys’ considerable talents could shine so brightly on the night. We are experimenting with producing some filmed material for the Pre-Prep & Prep at the moment, and to that end, the Proms were a very useful first step for us. I am thrilled that this film from the night has been put together and I am delighted to share the link with you here:


This week has been, by any stretch of the imagination, one of the busiest we have ever enjoyed; this is true of this term, certainly, but may also be true of this entire academic year. On Monday morning we hosted over 70 colleagues from local independent and state maintained primary and senior schools at a meeting to discuss policy and compliance matters of mutual concern to all of us. These sorts of meetings are excellent opportunities for us to keep in touch with like-minded adults working in a whole range of very different schools. Hosting such an event chimed, by happy coincidence, with our current assembly theme of ‘hospitality’.

On Monday afternoon our Year 5 and 6 House Cricket Competition took place. Concurrently, four boys represented Hampton Prep in the semi-finals of the National KS2 Maths Competition, organised by the Quiz Club, which we also hosted in the James Hall. We welcomed seven other teams, their teachers and some parents from Prep Schools across West London and following a strongly fought battle, unfortunately on this occasion we did not qualify for the National Finals at the end of this term. The boys very much enjoyed taking part however, and there is always next year!

On Tuesday Year 6 boys produced wonderfully dramatic music and honed their acting skills at a drama and music workshop at Hampton School. On Wednesday they all completed a ‘mini medics’ course, run by Mrs Searle, one of our School nurses. Year 4 managed not to fall into the Thames as they spent the entire day on a visit of scientific and ecological enquiry along the banks of the mighty river itself.

After our in-house Prep maths competition on Thursday morning, run by Mr Campbell, the highlight of the week was our Sports Day at Hampton School, expertly organised by Mr Darmon, who writes about it all in his Bulletin. There was terrific effort and some considerable, carefully managed competitive spirit on display that afternoon!

On Wednesday our Prep Art Exhibition opened and I have very much enjoyed looking at the wonderful work on display. We have had the Years 3 and 4 House Cricket Competition this afternoon. This morning most of Year 6 left school for the day to take part in a sailing activity at Queen Mary Sailing Club, whilst a small tranche of Year 6 boys departed for our annual cricket tour to Guernsey. Those boys return on Sunday, after playing against teams from Elizabeth College, who visited us for some football last September.

Prep School life is indeed busy and a great deal of tremendous fun but I think now I need a little lie down…!

Along with seeing large numbers of you at Sports Day yesterday, it was also excellent to catch up with some of you in Years 3 and 4 at our Parents’ Evening on Monday. That event, in conjunction with our Year 5 Parents’ Evening the Thursday before, draws to a close our annual cycle of assessing our pupils’ progress and outcomes and reporting that information back to you. I have had some feedback from parents enquiring about the relative importance of all the material that comes from each of our assessments of your boys. I have been asked what matters most: reasoning assessment data or exam test scores and if exam test scores do matter most, (they do not, by the way – more below) how does the school use that information?

At our school we have always looked carefully at a whole host of information to help us decide how well the pupils are progressing. We have age standardised scores gleaned from reasoning assessments and percentage scores from our own little, internal summer exams. We also spend a lot of time looking at and discussing progress as it emerges from work carried out in lessons and in preps.

Furthermore, we always make sure we consider any sort of data sets in light of what we understand of the pupils’ developing personal progress. If anything, for me, this sort of development matters most and I am confident it matters most to my colleagues too. What sort of living, breathing, human beings your children are actually turning into cannot be represented by numbers from any assessment on its own. In short, no one data set – either full of numbers or words – matters more than any other here, not to me at least. We try to consider all the information we have in equal measure, in order to arrive at decisions about your children that we feel not only truthfully represent what we see, but also allow us to arrive at intelligent and sensitive conclusions around how best to teach them next.

Do please feel you can come and see me, or indeed any member of the team here, if you wish to discuss any of this further.

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith


Sports News

An inspiring week where three house competitions have really demonstrated how the boys can work together as a team, show determination, effort, endeavour, celebrate success and deal with failure.

Monday saw the Year 6 and Year 5 boys compete in their House Cricket competition with a number of really close matches and today Year 4 and Year 3 complete their part of the tournament; the results of which will be announced in assembly next week.

However, in all the games the approach from the boys and positive attitude to ensure they worked together for a common cause was really pleasing to see. The screams of ‘Howzat’ and the yelps of joy when the fielding teams got the decision they were looking for were relentless and the enthusiasm never seemed to wane.

It never fails to surprise me how attached the boys are to their houses and how they are so desperate to do well as a group. I suppose there is no bigger bragging right than bowling your best mate out in House Cricket. I am sure I was the same, I just can’t remember that far back any more.

What I do remember is Sports Day and how I was most definitely desperate to do well. On the day when the whole school is there to see you, this is your opportunity to shine. Some years it went well, (I seem to remember winning some races) and some years it went badly (I definitely remember losing some races). However, win or lose, I loved it and the winning felt all the better having felt the pain of the loss previously.

I know a lot of the boys take their sport incredibly seriously and I know for plenty it can feel devastating if they don’t get in the team they want or lose the race they were desperate to win. However, we don’t get everything we want in life and not everything gets handed to us on a plate. It is our job as adults to make the boys see perspective in these moments. To make them see that losing helps you learn and makes you more motivated but more than anything, what really matters is enjoyment.

I still get grumpy when I lose and I have lost a lot over the years. However, there were two distinct moments in my rugby playing career that have stayed with me and in reflection they were the best two things that ever happened to me. Both were based around things not going my way, not getting picked.

So there may have been boys yesterday who were disappointed but the main thing I saw were big smiles. So maybe we have cracked it, maybe our boys already get that the main thing is having fun. What they certainly get is how to help each other. Seeing the support that was offered across the year groups to fellow house members is the thing I will remember the most from this year’s Sports Day. Not to mention the great effort that all the boys put in. Regardless of ability or interest I saw no boy not giving his best. Therefore, as teachers we can ask no more of our pupils.

All-in-all I thought it was a great day, although as I mentioned after the event it was tinged with a little sadness as I reflected on the fact that it would be the last for Mr Richards, Mr Arnold and Mr Campbell. All three are integral members of the games department and it is sad to think that they won’t be there to support me and the boys next year.

If you were there I hope you too enjoyed the day and I should imagine all the boys slept well last night. Two weeks left, next week we are holding a C/D team cricket festival at U10 and U8 age groups and then the final fixture of the year next Friday, when the U8s and U9s play against Bishopsgate. Nearly there!


Prep News

Last Friday saw our Hampton prep Proms take place at Hampton School, it was such a wonderful evening of fantastic music, fun and laughter!

In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Luke Asbery for an interesting journey pf discovery on local blue plaques; Christopher Bathurst, for an exquisite 3D model and project extension of the solar system; Ben Beesley for a wonderfully informative project and creative Great Barrier Reef model; Eric Brock-Talman, for allowing Mr Richards to re-live his superhero imaginative play, a wonderfully enthusiastic presentation and well crafted project; Luigi De Lellis Brockwell for creative models and a powerful message on Reduce, Reuse and Recycle; Monty Hunt for creating designing and testing 2nd law of motion experiment; Harresh Jayanthan for a stunning and shocking, powerfully presented visual representation of sugar and salt and Ben Rowe for a fantastically presented project on Paris. Well done to those boys!

Pre-Prep News

Well, it has been another busy week at Hampton Pre-Prep.  Kindergarten visited the Stockyard at Bushy Park yesterday and we were thrilled to receive the following feedback from Aron, our guide at the centre, ‘It was lovely to work with you and your boys yesterday.  I thought they were brilliant, they were so engaged with all the activities and managed all the walking wonderfully. They were a pleasure to teach and a credit to you, your team and the school.’

For the first time ever, on Wednesday we hosted a whole School Council meeting at Pre-Prep, which saw pupils from Reception to Year 6 meeting together to discuss a wide range of issues.  We believe it is so valuable to have a structure in place to allow our pupils here at Hampton Pre-Prep and Prep, to have a real say in issues that affect them and to know that their opinions count. Miss Goscomb reports our younger pupils threw themselves wholeheartedly into all discussion areas with the older pupils from Prep.

Pre-Prep School Council have decided that for their last charity event this year they would like to raise money for WaterAid by having a ‘Change for Charity’ day.  Therefore, next Friday (29th June) please send in any unwanted 1ps and 2ps in your child’s book bag. As well as counting all the money, each class will be doing some activities around the change collected before donating the total amount to WaterAid.

In Monday’s assembly, we congratulated Ruark MacDonald (Year 2) for winning a medal and trophy for his endeavours at his football club; he achieved ‘Player of the Week’.  We were similarly delighted to hear that Alfie Lineham (Year 1) won a medal for ‘Good Football’ at the weekend.

Today’s assembly had a musical theme, we were delighted to welcome Jonathan Morrison (Year 5) back to Pre-Prep and, as part of his LION award, he treated us to musical performances on his two instruments, the bassoon and trumpet. He then very carefully explained to the children exactly how each produces the different sounds.  We could not quite believe that he has only been learning the bassoon for three months!  Thank you, Jonathan.

Keeping with the theme James Nunn (Year 2) was awarded his Grade 2 Viola certificate which he passed with merit – very well done, James!

The Courtesy Cup and Badge were awarded to Julia Brock Talman (Year 2); she was chosen by Miss Johnston for being at great role model in school and being very helpful.

and Stars of the Week  went to the following pupils:

Year 2: Two stars were awarded to Tanushh Vaghelaa for trying hard to join in with class discussions whilst on the carpet.

Year 1: Two stars were awarded to Asher Holmes for fantastic writing in English.

Reception: Two stars were awarded to Freddie Richards for always listening beautifully on the carpet and consistently following the Golden Rules.

This afternoon, we were thrilled to welcome some of our ‘old’ girls back to talk to our current girls about what it is like to move schools and make new friends. It was so lovely to see them and catch up on all of their news since leaving Pre-Prep.

Here is what we have been up to in class ….

There was a lot of excitement in Kindergarten as it was the week of our first school trip. On Thursday, we boarded the minibus and headed to Bushy Park Stockyard.  Accompanying us, we had a very special visitor called Edmund the Bear; he is an explorer and was so excited, like the children, to hunt bugs. Once we got to the centre, our tour guide, Aaron, gave us each a magnifying glass and showed us how to roll logs safely to look for minibeasts.  We found so many minibeasts including damselflies and a beautiful purple ground beetle, and we even found a family of toads.  The children put some of these insects into magnifying pots to look more closely at them. We continued our bug hunt on the way to the ponds where we were able to try our hand at pond dipping. Using the big nets, we each had a turn at sweeping them in the pond and then took the net and its contents to our investigation tray. Here we could use our magnifying glasses, pots, brushes and spoons to look at the boatmen, water snails, water beetles and freshwater shrimps in closer detail. We took some of our pond life treasure back to the classroom and Aaron put them under the microscope, they looked huge! It was fascinating to see the water snail’s heart beating! We then enjoyed our picnic lunch in the garden of the park before climbing aboard the minibuses to return to school.

Our topic next week is Emergency Vehicles.


Our focus this week in Reception has been colour. The children have enjoyed talking about their favourite colours and have used descriptive vocabulary to write their own colour poems. We read the book Mouse Paint where three little mice get up to mischief jumping in pots of primary coloured paints! The result is secondary coloured puddles of paint and also fur. This led to an exciting afternoon colour mixing with paint, which the boys thoroughly enjoyed. We wrote letters to Lily at the farm to say thank you for a lovely trip, and have also written to Mr Smith to tell him about our colour mixing skills! In mathematics, we have been busy collecting data via bar graphs and tally charts. We found out that the most popular colour in Reception is red. We have also used our shape and colour knowledge to create and continue repeated patterns.

Year 1 have been revisiting money in maths this week. We have been using our money knowledge to add amounts and then find the change. Later on in the week, we moved on to solving problems involving money.

In English, we finished reading our book Dancing Tiger and wrote answers to the questions we asked the tiger earlier in the week. We also revisited ‘th’ words.

During our topic lesson on Monday, we used our Punch and Judy puppets we made last week. Working in groups, we made our own Punch and Judy sketches and used the puppet show to perform them to the rest of the class.

In maths, this week Year 2 have been using their knowledge and understanding of times tables to solve word problems.

In English, we continued our focus on The Magic Finger by doing some drama on what human activities ducks might do if the magic finger is placed on them. We have also written book reviews.

In science, we learned about what all plants need to survive. We then planted our own bean seeds hydroponically (in sealed bags with water and tissue paper). We have been watching these with anticipation to see if they grow! We made the foliage for our shoebox rainforests in our topic lesson; next week, we will be adding animals to these.

We can hardly believe this is the penultimate bulletin of the year – how quickly the time has flown!  As you will imagine, the last two weeks will be actioned packed and there will be deviations from the normal timetable but to clarify, next week (Tuesday 26 June), it will be the last swim for Years 1 and 2.

Please note all PE lessons for Reception, Years 1 and 2 will go ahead as normal. Year 2 will have their gym lesson next Wednesday, too.

Finally, please don’t forget it is ‘mufti day’ on Friday 29 June – mufti in exchange for bottles for the fair on Saturday 30 June!





headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster