Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 2
Today’s cancelled Swimming Gala notwithstanding, we have had a strong start to participating in physical endeavours this term, as we do every September, with plenty of football last weekend. I had to apologise to all the boys in assembly on Wednesday this week however, which is a sign perhaps of a not great start for me! I had to say sorry because on two separate occasions I had neglected to allow sufficient time for Mr Darmon to leap up and congratulate those who had already played football for the school. Mr Darmon writes more about the tournaments in his Bulletin (tab above). It was a great thrill for me when we did – eventually – listen to Mr Darmon’s feedback about Saturday’s fixtures. Being in such competitive sporting environments so early in the term is a great way for the boys to reassess their fitness and skill levels, especially if they have not been playing much football over the summer months. We are all looking forward to seeing their skills and effort develop further as the season unfolds.
Year 6 enjoyed their trip to Tate Modern yesterday. I am told the boys were particularly enthusiastic about the exhibits they saw. It is always very pleasing for them and us when they recognise the work of artists covered over their years at the school. Everyone was extremely moved when watching a video of a young Syrian refugee, attempting to communicate his experiences through mime. One boy described the visit as “amazing”, but another disagreed, saying that it was “brilliant”. A success all round!
Miss Goscomb at Pre-Prep and Mrs Lutz in the Prep jointly run our School Council. The School Council is a group of children who have been elected by their classmates to represent the views of their class. It is an excellent opportunity for the children to take on roles of responsibility. The children work as a team on projects to improve the School or to provide additional enrichment opportunities for us all. Our School Council also helps to decide which charities the School should raise money for and how best to do this.
Successful initiatives so far have included revising the rules for use of the court at the Prep, liaising with the catering staff in order to develop our school lunches, setting up a quiet play area complete with suitable toys and games, creating a pass system for indoor use and working alongside the School’s Junior Safety Officers (JSO). At Pre-Prep the School Council have helped to decide which activities we could have for Golden Time and decided that the ‘best line’ at the end of each playtime should be rewarded with a sticker for a special classroom chart.
This year we are changing the School Council slightly at Pre-Prep by having two representatives from Reception, Year One and Year Two who will change every term. The elected representatives will meet with Miss Goscomb once every half term to share their ideas with each other. We will also meet up with the Prep School Councillors at various points during the year. If your child would like to represent their class, please encourage them to consider why. Next week they will have the opportunity to explain their reasons to the rest of their class and each class will then vote to decide who will be elected.
I wandered up the drive on Monday morning this week, just ahead of registration, with two or three stragglers and we all got chatting. I am very glad that we have Schemes of Work at our School that require boys to complete some work at home, preferably on their own if they can manage it. I think this is important. You will have heard about our approach to tasks set to be completed at home (which at our School we call ‘prep’) when you came to meet your son’s teachers last week.
Essentially, your boy is likely to be given one of two types of tasks to work on at home. Sometimes he will complete work that consolidates the material that has been covered in lessons but on other occasions he will be preparing material to be included in lessons that have not yet been taught. In my experience, boys can tend to find this sort of preparatory task harder to accomplish than say, a comprehension worksheet or a page or two of sums. It also tends to be the sort of activity, again in my experience, that parents like least to see their child complete due to incorrect perceptions regarding its usefulness coupled with the lack of opportunities for it to be very carefully controlled.
We all believe it is important for our pupils to prepare material in this way however, at this relatively early stage of their educational careers, for two main reasons. Firstly, they will certainly be expected to work more independently once they reach Year 7 no matter where that may be. Secondly – and more importantly – when a boy prepares material for a task at home upon which they must rely in the next lesson, it means we get a clearer, more realistic picture of his developing skills because we can be certain he has accomplished the task entirely on his own. We can then sensitively and intelligently adjust our approach to teaching him accordingly. I recognise of course that some tasks boys complete at home will benefit from parental support; some however do not require it. Do please let us know if ever any of this is unclear or you think the tasks your son is being expected to complete are unclear to him.
Have a great weekend,
Before we could blink the football season had started. Last Saturday there were 4 teams playing across 2 different tournaments. The U11 A team were at the Shrewsbury House tournament. The initial pool stages went well for us and we draw the two games, which meant we went through in second place and into the quarter finals. The schools that were involved in this tournament were generally much larger than ours and so we did well to compete in the manner that we did. In the quarter finals we were 1-0 up until the last 2 minutes, when unfortunately, we conceded a goal. This took the game to sudden death. However, an unavoidable hand ball and the subsequent converted penalty 30 seconds in, resulted in our ejection from the tournament.
The U11Bs and the U10 As and Bs were all playing in the tournament at Hampton School. For the B teams this was a tough proposition as the majority of teams were A teams and so it was a morning of adversity and hard work. However, to their credit both teams showed improvement throughout the morning and could take heart from some well earnt draws as the morning came to a close. The U10 A were also a little slow out of the blocks, but put five wins in a row helped them to eventually win 6, draw 2 and lose 2.
Yesterday saw the continuation of the football season with the U11 B and C team putting teams out against Willington School. The B team worked hard to secure a 1-1 draw and the C team had things a little easier with a 6-0 win. We’d only had two sessions before this fixture and so we are still establishing our teams. Therefore, there will be plenty of movement between working groups and teams over the next few weeks, as we decide on where each boy best sits within the year group. This is so that they are comfortable with the peers that they work with and able to progress effectively.
We have tried hard this term to provide more opportunities to the boys who don’t generally play in the A teams and yesterday was one such occasion. This can often be difficult as we rely on other schools to also put out similar teams, but I hope you all notice the difference this term.
Head of PE and Games
In assembly this week a Headmaster’s Commendations was awarded to Alessio Carraretto (5Ca) for using his initiative and imagination to create a stunning Lego model of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. Well done!
Year 6 were lucky enough to head into London on the first trip of the year on Thursday and enjoyed a very cultured day at the Tate Modern.
This term Chris Harrison will be running Saturday sessions in the excellent sports hall at Hampton School. These sessions are perfectly suited for young cricketers who wish to continue to play and improve through the off season. The weekly sessions will allow young player’s to make significant improvements in understanding, technique, performance and confidence. The young cricketers will be placed in skill specific groups when appropriate and there will be an excellent coach to player ratio. Please click here for more details.
September seems to be moving along at a rapid pace, this week has simply flown by. How lucky were we that the rain held off on Wednesday to allow individual and class photographs to take place! The children all looked very smart indeed in their new school uniforms.
Studies show that reading for pleasure makes a big difference to a child’s educational performance. Evidence suggests those who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who don’t, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures. Reading aloud to children is so vitally important in the infant stage but also well into the primary years. We hope that you will be able to make our Reading Information Evening next week; it takes place on Thursday 20 September at 6.30pm at Pre-Prep.
You will have noticed that double yellow lines have been painted around the corner and into the entrance of Wensleydale Gardens, however, already we are noting some parking violations. We would urge you all to park sensibly and legally during drop offs and collections at Pre-Prep, setting good examples to everyone in our community – children, parents and neighbours alike.
The new assembly programme started in earnest this week, and Years 1 and 2 were delighted to join the Beginning of Term Assembly at Prep. ‘Industry’ is the theme for this half term and this was explored in relation to working hard, being industrious and teamwork, as well as the straightforward definition of this word. In Pre-Prep, we are mindful that one of our Golden Rules is ‘do work hard’, so we intend to make every minute count as best we can this academic year.
It was with great pleasure that the Captains and Vice Captains were announced in assembly yesterday, with Mr Smith on hand to distribute the accompanying badges that these children will wear for the term.
Red (Lancaster) – Captain, Arthur Band and Vice Captain, Krrish Anand.
Green (York) – Captain, Ahaan Shankar and Vice Captain, Daniel Taylor.
Yellow (Windsor) – Captain, Theo Heath and Vice Captain, Thomas Chivers.
Blue (Tudor) – Captain, Reuben Nicholson and Vice Captain, Alfie Lineham.
He also awarded Rishi Schneider (Year 1) with his martial arts certificate following his endeavours during the summer period. Rishi honed his sparring and kicking skills to earn this award.
The Courtesy Cup and Badge were awarded to Finn Timba (Year 2) for his beautiful manners and for looking after the new children in the playground.
and Stars of the Week were awarded to:
Year 2: Harry Hayes, for settling into Year 2 so well and for always being so polite.
Year 1: Daniel Fitzpatrick, for always being polite, kind and helpful in our classroom.
Reception: Aubin Williams, for a positive approach to school life and settling into Hampton Pre-Prep beautifully.
Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …
It has been another great week in Kindergarten. The children have been accessing many new resources in the classroom and outside in the playground and, of course, getting to know their friends. We have talked about ‘self-registration’ and the children now have a named flower that they will be encouraged to find and place into the plant pot each morning.
You will see diaries have been sent home today for the weekend. We would be really grateful if you could help your child add some information into their diary each week, but please note we do not want this to be too onerous for you. It can be anything that they have been up to over the weekend, for example, a sentence or two, drawings, photographs, tickets or maps. We have found this hugely beneficial in the past in encouraging the children’s communication and language skills, as well as assisting them to build their confidence when sharing their news with their teachers. The reading diaries will start next week.
Our topic ‘Getting to Know You’ continues next week and we would like the children to bring in their favourite soft toy on Tuesday 18 September.
Our work this week in Reception has focused on the topic of Ourselves; we have finished our painted portraits and enjoyed looking at them in our “gallery”, and talking about similarities and differences we notice. The children all loved taking part in a large collaborative class artwork inspired by ‘making marks’ – we took our pens for a journey along the paper, exploring the different lines, letters and shapes we could make. We all decided it’s a great feeling working together toward an end goal.
In literacy, we have spoken about the characters in our Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) stories – learning about each one, looking carefully at their names, and using our phonics to blend the letters and read the word. We read some big book stories on our interactive whiteboard and you may like to look at this website at home https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/. Every boy has brought home a reading book for the weekend, a reading diary and a small zip-lock bag containing sounds. Have fun sharing the book together; talking about the illustrations and recognising the character names in the text. During our phonics sessions, we have been focusing on the correct cursive formation of the letters s, a and t, and have been playing some oral blending games.
In mathematics, we have been counting up to 20 and using our hands to practise quickly showing the correct amount of fingers when a number is said. We were also very excited to start our very first dough disco session! During dough disco, each child has a ball of playdough, and whilst listening to some upbeat disco music, we poke, prod, stretch and roll the dough and take our fingers for a dance! As you can imagine, it’s great fun and such a brilliant way to exercise and strengthen our finger muscles. Have a great weekend!
This week in Year 1, we have continued developing our number skills by counting, ordering numbers and filling in missing numbers on a number line. We have been practising writing our numbers the correct way round too. Today, we completed an aural maths activity where Miss Page read out a question and we had to listen carefully and write down the answer. We earnt a marble for our jar because we were so sensible!
In English, we have been learning how to form the letters c, o and a correctly with the lead ins and outs. Everyone is doing a great job! We also read the story ‘Knuffle Bunny’ and made predictions throughout about what might happen next. After this, we sequenced pictures from the story into the correct order. We have focused on writing full sentences with capital letters, full stops, finger spaces and making sure we haven’t missed out any words! Other activities we did this week included: our first swimming lesson, labelling the parts of an elephant, thinking about how our actions affect others, art with Mrs Murphy and logging into Purple Mash on our own! We enjoyed learning how to say thank you in Makaton as well as learning a song (Three Little Monkeys). If you’d like to learn it too, follow this link to the song on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZBZ8J1R_yU&list=PLjT4XhijakZiqAV_QjFd-8nV5CuO5Rpnz&index=4
In maths, Year 2 have been using number lines to add and subtract. We had to remember that when adding, it doesn’t matter which order the numbers go in but when taking away the biggest number has to go first.
Today in English, we received a very important parcel from Bon Bon Elf, the Mayor of Fairyland because all of their punctuation has gone missing! We had to help him by filling in the missing punctuation in some rather strange sentences that he sent us about characters including Goldilocks and Cinderella.
We continued our ‘Changes Within Living Memory’ topic by thinking about what our parents might have done when they weren’t at school and how this is different to the activities we do. We also read the book ‘Peepo!’ to compare homes in the past compared to homes nowadays.
In Life Skills, we looked at the words ‘rights’ and ‘responsibilities’ before coming up with examples of each. We linked this to our Golden Rules at Pre-Prep, deciding that it is our responsibility to follow the rules that we have so that we can stay safe, have fun and learn lots in school.
We hope you all have a wonderful weekend.