Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 1

This Week

 

Dear Parents,

What a great joy it is indeed to be back at school this week, especially after what appears to have been a really wonderful summer for so many of your children and you! For those of you who are new to the School, I write a Bulletin each week which mostly focuses on the Prep, Mrs Murphy writes one that mostly focuses on the Pre-Prep and Mr Darmon gives us an excellent round-up of the sport at our School in his weekly Bulletin. Please click on the tabs above to access those.

It has been very exciting to welcome our new pupils into a number of year groups across the School but especially into Year 3, where of course the greatest number of ‘newbies’ have arrived. Mrs Tinkler, our new Deputy Head (Pastoral) led a part of our first assembly in the Prep on Wednesday on the importance of making a positive first impression; she has been an excellent role model herself in this regard I have to say! Mrs Tinkler drew upon the expertise of some of our colleagues to assist her, who were all able to explain how the boys in the Prep might go about making a positive first impression in practical ways. Miss Wakeling suggested boys should always seek to be kind to one another, Mr Chilcott suggested boys should always strive to be themselves and Mr Cantelo – another new colleague in Year 5, teaching the core curriculum across the Prep – recommended to the boys they aim to be proactive when out playing at morning and lunch break and include each other in their games and friendly football matches, if ever they are playing any. Yesterday it was very good to hear from one parent at least that her boy took all this on board and on Wednesday evening had tried really hard with his first prep of the year, in order to make a good first impression on his teachers. Do please ask your sons how they believe they sought to follow all this excellent advice this week.

In addition to Mrs Tinkler and Mr Cantelo, as mentioned above, a number of other members of staff are new to the School this term. They are:

  • Mr Cockshutt, a permanent part-time member of the Games department, teaching in the Prep in the afternoons and assisting with running sports teams on selected weekends
  • Mme Houghton, our new French teacher in Years 4 – 6; Mme Houghton is a native French speaker originally from Brittany
  • Mrs Kenning joins us as one of the Late Stay Supervisors in the Pre-Prep in the afternoons
  • Miss Page is covering Year 1 whilst Mrs Doyle is on maternity leave. Mrs Doyle and her husband were delighted to celebrate the safe arrival of their beautiful daughter, Cassie in July
  • Our Gap Year Teaching Assistants, working across both the Pre-Prep and Prep are Mr Andrae, Miss Barton, Miss Berry and Miss Egan

Mrs Murphy and her team very much enjoyed seeing the Pre-Prep parents earlier in the week when they came to meet the teachers. It was very good to see Prep Parents on Wednesday and Thursday night too. As ever, and as we explained on the night, if you would like to discuss any matter that has arisen as a result of your visits to the School this week, or indeed for any other reason, do please get in touch with us.

Parents’ parking habits are a source of some pretty frequent dialogue with our neighbours, which also results on occasions in some direct interaction with neighbours who live close to both Pre-Prep & Prep. This is almost always the case if the way parents park has made our neighbours’ lives miserable, unwittingly or not.

Please ensure you park legally, safely and with all due common sense and consideration.

May I also please ask you now to bear these specific points in mind when arriving at School by car in the morning or afternoon:

  1. Please do not ever block our neighbours’ drives. I become pretty upset when anyone blocks my driveway at home so I know exactly how this makes our neighbours feel when it happens to them. It is inconsiderate, inexcusable and therefore impossible for us to defend on your behalves when it has occurred in the past and our neighbours are seeking explanations from my team and me about your poor parking behaviour. I respectfully ask you please not to put us in this unfair position. Blocking even a small portion of a dropped curb or a driveway can make it very difficult for our neighbours to leave their own homes, especially where the streets around the school tend to become narrower in places than on most other streets.
  2. Please do not idle with your vehicle’s engine running. Again, this is bad for our neighbourly relations and more importantly, bad for the environment. Some parents have explained to me that waiting in the car when the weather becomes cold means they have to keep the engine running to keep the heater on to keep warm. I am recommending that you turn your engines off and wear another jumper.
  3. Although we cannot mandate which roads you park on, please consider the ‘park & stride’ approach for the final phase of the School run. We would ask you please to build time into your journey to School in both the morning and afternoon to park at least 10 minutes’ walk away from School, on streets where there is bound to be less congestion, and to walk the final 10 minute distance to School.

This year unfortunately I am unable to attend the Shrewsbury House Football Tournament or the Hampton School Football Tournament tomorrow, as I shall be attending a conference in north London devoted to bringing the evidence and outcomes of educational research to bear upon the practice of teachers on a daily basis. I have been reading some excellent material over the summer by a number of the academics and authors who will, much to my great excitement, be present at the conference tomorrow. Almost all of what I read this summer focused on my developing interest in cognitive science and how its discoveries might help teachers to consider how pupils learn in more effective ways. As a staff group we considered this notion in some detail, amongst a number of others, when we met at the start of this week for our continuing professional development sessions. I am fascinated by the difference between mimicry and mastery, when it comes to considering how much a child has learnt. More on this from me – inevitably – as the year progresses…!

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith

Sport Bulletin

So another academic year is upon us and with that comes plenty of change. New teachers, new uniform, a new timetable, maybe even a new school. What never seems to change is the focus on exams and exam results every summer. Having worked in secondary schools for the majority of my career, I am well aware of the pressure that pupils, parents and teachers alike feel as exam season draws closer and closer.

The boys in year 6 will no doubt feel this pressure mounting as they progress through this term. Regardless of your view on how academic progress is measured and the merit placed upon such grades, one thing I am certainly convinced by is the positive affect physical exercise has on mental health.

In my previous role in a secondary school I tirelessly campaigned for more time for pupils to be physically active as they creeped nearer to their GCSEs and beyond. However, quite the opposite happened and sure enough the first thing to go by the way side was designated PE and Games time. This was then alternatively used for exam revision, coursework catch-up and ‘intervention’, to the point where generally in Year 11 no time was given for PE and Games at all.

I felt that was counter-productive. There is overwhelming research to prove that increased exercise levels reduces stress and in turn improves mental health. A recent study from the USA and published in the Lancet, showed that those students who exercised had 43.2% fewer days of self reported poor mental health.

Reports suggest that the mental health of the children in this country is on the decline. Maybe we just have a greater understanding of it now or maybe the world is a tougher place to grow up in than when we were children. Regardless, we now have this knowledge and we as adults have a responsibility to take steps to help reduce this burden.

This therefore, is at the forefront of my mind as I embrace a new academic year. I am more than ever aware of how important a physically active lifestyle is for all of us, particularly young people and in my case the children of Hampton Pre-Prep and Prep.

We will as ever, make every attempt to provide your boys and girls with a comprehensive and varied games and PE programme. I hope together we can be a driving force in providing some ‘mental wealth’ for the children of this school. I certainly take a great deal of pleasure from seeing the boys and girls running around enjoying themselves and hopefully in turn they all go home happy and content.

I look forward to seeing you all on the side lines over the course of the term. Some of you I will see tomorrow, as within 3 days of the start of the new year we have four football teams representing the school in tournaments at Shrewsbury House School and Hampton School. If I don’t see you tomorrow have a great weekend and I am sure I will see some more of you very soon.

Nick Darmon

Head of Games and PE

 

Pre-Prep Bulletin

We hope you have all had a terrific summer. It has been wonderful to hear everyone’s holiday news – the children certainly seem raring to go, revitalised and eager for the year ahead. In fact, we are over the moon with the children, as they have settled so well this week and with new routines taken in their stride. Safe to say, we are looking forward to the year ahead greatly!

It was lovely to see so many of you at the Parents’ Information Evening on Tuesday; we hope everyone found it useful. As we settle in to the new academic year, no doubt there will be some teething issues with new timetables and so on; however, be assured we shall keep you informed of any changes. To this end, we aim to send out timetables for Reception, Years 1 and 2 as soon as is practicable – once we have worked through an entire week, Monday to Friday.

Please do ask members of staff if you have any queries or questions – you can contact your child’s class teacher directly via email, or send a message to the School Office. Here are the email addresses to assist you:

Year 2: Miss Goscomb   n.goscomb@hamptonprep.org.uk

Year 1: Miss Page   n.page@hamptonprep.org.uk

Reception: Miss Johnston    s.annandale-johnston@hamptonprep.org.uk

                  Mrs Timba          e.timba@hamptonprep.org.uk

Kindergarten: Mrs Hand       a.hand@hamptonprep.org.uk

Here at Hampton Pre-Prep, we love to celebrate the children’s achievements, including those earned out of school. This year, on Thursdays, Mr Smith will be present, so please do send in your child’s certificates, medals and trophies and he will present the awards. A brief explanation is always much appreciated, particularly for the more unusual pastimes!

We are extremely proud to announce that a third Blue Peter has been issued to one of our pupils at Pre-Prep – our congratulations go to Eddie White (Year 2), who created a lovely picture of Shelley the Tortoise.

Over the summer holidays, Harry Sinnett (Year 2) went to a summer camp run by Fulham Football Club. He worked very hard all week and was awarded ‘Player of the Week’ for his age group. He won a T-Shirt and a Fulham football for his endeavours. Furthermore, last weekend marked the start of the rugby season and he made a quick impression on the U7 coaches at Rosslyn Park Rugby Club, winning the Rockstar Award. Well done, Harry!

On Wednesday (12 September), we have individual and class photographs taking place. Please remember to send your child in to school in the correct uniform, looking as neat and tidy as possible. We will send out a reminder early next week!

Here’s what our classes have been up to this week…

It has been lovely welcoming the children into their new Kindergarten class. They have been enjoying the activities indoors and outdoors and we have enjoyed seeing them access a variety of resources to use in their play. We look forward to seeing the children next week and them settle into the routine of Kindergarten and extend their new friendships.

Well what a wonderful start to Reception we have had. All the boys have settled in so incredibly well to our Reception routines and rules, and most importantly we have had a happy and fun three days. A huge well done to all our boys for a brilliant start to school life at Hampton Pre-Prep. This week, the boys have become familiar with our classroom, had a tour of the school, talked about the Golden Rules, written a postcard with memories of their summer holidays and begun to paint some self-portraits. Next week, we continue our topic of Ourselves and we look forward to learning more about each boy. For Show and Tell on Wednesday we would love to see their favourite book or toy from home.   Please we may we ask that all shoes and socks are clearly named – we take off shoes and socks on a Friday for our yoga session and reuniting the right black shoe with the right boy can prove a challenge! Wishing you all a lovely weekend.

This week in Year 1 we have enjoyed getting to know each other better by playing games and reading stories together (Peter Picker from ‘The World’s Worst Children’ by David Walliams was a favourite!). We have been practising writing our numbers, checking they are the correct way around and counting forwards and backwards within 100. In English, we have been revising some of our phonics sounds and have learnt how to ‘Kung Fu’ phonics to help us sound out words. Today the children have told the class all about their favourite toy and written a short piece in their books telling us about who they brought in. All the children have been read with individually and enjoyed their first PE lesson of the year with Mr Wales. In RE, we have been thinking about who cares for us and who we care for. We spoke about ways that people show they care about someone and we also came up with a set of class rules to ensure that we all stay safe and happy in the classroom. A very successful first week!

 

Year 2 have settled back into school with aplomb, rising to the new expectations and taking the changes in routine from Year 1 in their stride.

In maths we have focused on place value, knowing which digits are tens and units in a number as well as comparing numbers. We have also done some mixed mental arithmetic and word problems.

We wrote about our summer holidays in English, concentrating on sentence structure. This included trying to write in detail to make our writing more interesting and remembering where to put those pesky capital letters and full stops!

We received a letter from a mouse in our topic lesson. He told us that he has been living in Mrs Tyler’s room (!) and that he gets very lonely when we are not in school. He asked us what we do when we go home in the evening. It turns out that we are a very busy bunch, doing activities such as swimming, football and rugby.

Have a lovely weekend.