Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 3
We are well and truly into the swing of things at school, which is always such a reassuring place to get to as far as I am concerned. It feels terrific to be trotting along now at a pretty steady pace, with boys and colleagues alike getting their heads down in lessons (sometimes holding their heads up high to do some really useful thinking!) and having secured a number of sporting fixtures under our belts too. I am looking forward to hearing some music being performed by the boys in October, at our first Pupils’ Informal Concert (the date is in the calendar) not least because we hope there will be a very exciting addition to our musical life present on the day – watch this space!
Boys and colleagues arrived at school for our first ‘Fewer Fumes’ breakfast of the year on Wednesday. Our Junior Safety Officers in Year 5 organised this event to encourage all members of our community to try out new methods of transport for their morning journey that day, in the hope that this will encourage a permanent change to travel behaviour.
Many thanks for having heeded Mrs Murphy’s and my message to you all regarding parking, sent earlier in the term. It feels to me as if there is less congestion and there are fewer cars stopping directly outside the Gloucester Road entrance to the Prep at the moment, where the road narrows somewhat, and I am hopeful this is because more and more of you are choosing to park and stride? If you are, please do keep that up and if you are not, well, Wednesday was your chance to try that out. If you did not manage it on Wednesday, please do give it a go. Parking some way from school, if you have to drive your child here, and walking the last 10 – 15 minutes means the roads close to our school are likely to be less congested for all concerned.
I am obliged to remind you all once more please to park considerately. I have been personally involved in one discussion with neighbours recently this half term regarding parental parking behaviour and colleagues in the Bursary have been involved in two. If someone other than yourselves (grandparent, child minder etc.) is driving your children to school can I kindly ask you now please to explain our expectations to them regarding legal, safe and considerate parking behaviour?
Our friendly lion cub (yes, we know it looks like he is wearing nail polish, stop going on about it…!) is the visual symbol that inspired the name of our termly magazine last year ‘ROAR!’ Mr Andrae, one of our Gap Year Teaching Assistants, has kindly agreed to assist us with editing that publication this year. Miss Wakeling has been similarly inspired and is leading on the display of boys’ work in the Prep for us this year. Each Friday she will be putting up a selection of children’s tasks on her ‘Wakeling’s Wonderful Work to ROAR! About’ board, in the reception area. If ever you are in to visit us at the Prep do please look at it. I hope this will be a very useful way for you as parents to be supportive of what we all do in lessons as the year rolls by, irrespective of the class your own child happens to be in.
Boys participating in visits and excursions off site and us hosting visitors on excursions of their own is a critically important part of how we seek to educate all the pupils across both Schools within the Hampton Trust. Mr Knibbs and I often discuss how much pupils get out of these sorts of trips and how it sets them up for Senior School life, no matter what school that may turn out to be. Year 4 had a wonderful time supporting their science lessons on their excursion to Bushy Park on Wednesday this week and we are very excited to be welcoming our friends visiting from Elizabeth College Junior School, Guernsey, today. Boys and staff from ECJS have been coming to our school for our Prep Schools’ Football Tournament for a good number of years now and we in turn visit Guernsey in the summer to play in their Cricket Tournament. Year 4 are heading off on their camping trip next week to Hertfordshire. Both Mr Salt and Mr Henderson are very much looking forward to leading this trip – it will be our first pupils’ camping trip ever – and I am very grateful to all the staff accompanying the boys for giving up their comfy beds for what I hope will be comfy woodland surfaces and comfy tents for two nights!
I shall be off-site for most of next week too, as I head to Wales for the annual IAPS Prep School Heads’ Conference. As ever, there is a fine array of speakers lined up for us. I am particularly looking forward to hearing a presentation by Lucy Crehan, as I read her book CleverLands over the summer holidays. In many respects it is a book I wish I had written, not least because as I understand it she took a year out of her school to travel the world looking at five of the most educationally successful countries or jurisdictions. You can find a summary of the work here:
Ever since I read this book it has been very interesting for me to consider to what extent the five principles of high performance the author has established apply to us here at Hampton Pre-Prep & Prep.
I am now involved with the recently established Chartered College of Teaching and at their invitation I – along with a large number of others from all sorts of different schools – attended a meeting with senior policy advisors at the Department for Education last night to discuss what constitutes successful teaching and to consider why anyone would want to teach in the first place. I came away from the meeting more convinced than ever before how fortunate our boys and girls are to be educated at our School and how lucky I am to be a part of it.
Have a great weekend,
So the excitement of the Swimming Gala came to a sudden halt late Friday morning. For that I can only apologise and needless to say it was due to unfortunate circumstances far beyond anyone’s control. The pool was forced to close, as is their protocol in such circumstances and so nothing could be done about it. We are in the process of re-arranging and things are looking hopeful, so we will be in touch very soon with the new date.
This is one of the most exciting weeks in our calendar, as on Saturday we host the annual Hampton Prep U11 6-a-side football tournament at Hampton School. With this, we once again welcome our visitors from Elizabeth College Junior School in Guernsey. Fourteen boys and two members of staff will be flying over tomorrow morning and we have an action packed weekend of activities planned for them. I am sure they are as excited as our boys are. Please bid them a warm welcome if you come across any of the boys and staff as of Friday morning.
The tournament is always a great occasion, good football, good sportsmanship and good fun has always been the order of the day. I am sure Saturday will be no different. Our own U11 A team has been victorious for the previous two years running. Will it be the same this year? One team that will be determined to put a stop to that winning run will be our U10 A team. These boys generally don’t play in this tournament but due to a school having to drop out at the last minute, our Year 5 boys have stepped into the breach and are determined to topple their older peers.
They have had the perfect preparation to do so. On Wednesday the U10 A & B teams took part in the Twickenham Prep 5-a-side tournament. The B team put in a valiant display and came third overall. The A team took the top spot and showed some real character against some much bigger teams to do so. There were some extremely excited boys as they returned to school Wednesday evening with the trophy. At the U10 age group there are lots of tournaments in this first half term. So plenty of opportunities to go on to win more silverware, but can they take the biggest scalp of all this Saturday? The U11s and U10s are drawn against each other in the pool stages. The tournament starts at 9.30am and that particular game kicks off at 9.45 am, I look forward to seeing many of you there tomorrow morning.
Prior to this tournament all the boys in Year 5 played in a development triangular tournament on Monday. The A and the B teams travelled away to play against Surbiton and Claremont and the C and D teams stayed at home where they were also joined by Surbiton and Claremont. The aim of the afternoon was to give all the boys a good opportunity to play a competitive fixture, but also to allow us as staff, some time to work with the boys and try and develop their match play and ability to work as a team. All teams played two matches each and the afternoon was a great success. The two sets of boys were mixed together so there were no distinct ability groups and this gave the games staff a really good look at how boys faired in different team settings.
It is a busy week next week. All the boys in Year 4 will play against The Mall on Tuesday. There is a large Colts fixture against St George’s, Windsor on Wednesday. The U8s play against St. George’s on Friday in their first ever fixture for Hampton Prep! Then on Saturday the U10 boy play in another tournament on Saturday, also at St. George’s, Windsor.
Good luck to all those involved this weekend and thank you for your support across all these busy weekends during this busy period of the year. The boys and the staff appreciate your commitment and effort.
This week Year 4 had their trip to the Stockyard at Bushy Park where they spent the day exploring the environment by grass sweeping with large cloth nets that helped the boys to capture and study different types of spiders and insects. They also did some pond dipping and found water boatmen, leeches and damselflies! This helped them with their studies by identifying differences between invertebrates and vertebrates.
The term feels properly underway now and we continue to be delighted with how well the children have settled in to life at Hampton Pre-Prep. With this in mind, you will have recently received an email from Mrs Tinkler, Deputy Head Pastoral, with this year’s Pastoral Handbook – we hope this is a helpful reference point for you. Please do contact us if you have any concerns whatsoever as pastoral care is extremely important to us here at Hampton Pre-Prep and Prep, after all, ‘a happy child will be a successful child.’ Do remind your child that if s/he is at all worried or unsure about anything they can talk to any adult at school. We also regularly remind the children that they can use, recognise and respond positively to the phrase, ‘Please don’t do that I don’t like it’.
Thank you so much to everyone who attended our Reading Information Evening last night, it was a record turn out and we hope you found it useful. If you were unable to come along but would still like a pack, please do ask Mrs Murphy.
Some further information as promised last night, Marilyn Brocklehurst through her Norfolk Children’s Book Centre freely dispenses her unquenchable enthusiasm for books and reading. Her contact details are as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org Norfolk Children’s Book Centre, Church Lane, Alby, Nortwich NR11 7HB.
Mrs Murphy highly recommends, ‘The Story Cure: An A-Z of Books to Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Wise’ by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin.
To hear the correct pronunciation of phonetic sounds to assist your child learning to read, we particularly like the following as the clip is by a speech and language therapist:
We are aware that several pupils have missing items of clothing. Please be assured we are searching for these and hope to be able to return them as soon as possible. We would urge everyone to check at home, too, just in case they have been brought home by mistake – the list includes a school winter coat, a sun hat and two school jumpers.
You will have seen in the School Calendar that ‘Open Homework’ is due to take place very soon. Each year we hold an ‘Open Homework’ Week when pupils throughout the School are given the freedom to explore an open-ended theme encouraging lateral thinking and creativity. During ‘Open Homework’ week no other academic homework is set. That said, reading and the learning of spellings should continue!
The children have a week to create anything they like associated with a given theme. Whatever approach the children take, they should learn something new. They might write a poem, a story or character sketch. They may wish to do a geographical, historical or scientific study. They may make a toy, game or some form of 3D montage. They may like to prepare some food, produce a piece of art or design something on the computer. There is no right or wrong way to approach ‘Open Homework’ and it provides the children with the opportunity to be creative in an area of learning they particularly enjoy.
In the past, we have followed the themes ‘7’, ‘round’ and ‘red’, and the range of interpretations were simply amazing. Do look out for Mrs Murphy’s letter revealing this year’s word!
Having received some questions about the school menus, we thought it would be helpful to point out that these operate on a three weekly rotation and can be viewed on the website. Next week, it will be menu 1 again and so on. However, please note the menu may be subject to change according to supplies available.
We are very grateful to Miss Goscomb who will continue to coordinate Pre-Prep’s involvement in the School Council. School Council is a forum to encourage the children to contribute ideas and suggestions about school life and, to this end, two children from each class from Reception upwards are elected by their peers to sit on the council for the term. Essentially, School Council is the vehicle to allow the children at Hampton Pre-Prep the opportunity to offer ideas and suggestions to enhance school life and indeed the wider community by supporting their chosen charities. We are delighted to announce the School Councillors at Pre-Prep for the Autumn Term.
Reception: Jack Morris and Aubin Williams
Year 1: Tom Ellman-Brown and Edward Wijnand
Year 2: Finn Timba and Eddie White
Mr Smith awarded the above children with their School Councillor badges in yesterday’s assembly and made the following awards, too.
Harry Morris (Year 2) has been extremely busy over the summer period, as not only has he achieved one Blue Peter badge, but two! One for sending in a picture of Shelley and the other, a multi-coloured special Blue Peter badge, for learning to play cricket. Very well done, Harry!
Reuben Nicholson (Year 2) received two certificates – the first, for successfully gaining a merit in primary tap and the second for pre-primary ballet, where again he achieved a merit. We are hoping very much that he will bring his tap shoes in to school to demonstrate his tap dancing skills.
Harry Hayes (Year 2) was awarded with a trophy that he gained for playing rugby for his club London Welsh. It was noted that not only had Harry played very well but had listened really well, too.
Emin Onemli (Year 1) has been attending a weekend Turkish Academy in order to learn how to read and write in Turkish. He received a gold certificate today in assembly for successfully completing his Reception class there, so now he’s ready to move onto the Year 1.
The Courtesy Cup and Badge awarded this week to Ahaan Shankar (Year 2). Mrs Perkins spotted Ahaan in Early Drop and Late Stay because of his good behaviour and very helpful nature – well done!
Stars of the Week went to:
Year 2: Ayaan Jadoon for trying exceptionally hard in maths this week.
Year 1: Callum Porter for working really hard this week and for showing how his resilient he is!
Reception: Thomas Double for always following the Golden Rules – it has been noted how especially helpful he is in the classroom.
Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …
It has been a busy week with our extra guests in Kindergarten. Earlier in the week, the children brought their favourite cuddly toys into the classroom. The toys joined in our circle times and the children enjoyed showing and talking about them with their friends. Using paints and pens, they then produced fabulous and extremely detailed pictures for our class display, which one child has named, ‘Our Lovely Toys’.
We have also introduced the Golden Rules this week, focusing on ‘Do Be Kind and Helpful’. We talked about using kind hands and discussed friendships, in particular, how to be a good friend to others. We shall be returning to this theme regularly, as we introduce the remaining five over the course of the term. For information, the Golden Rules we follow here at Hampton Pre-Prep are as follows:
- Do Be Kind and Helpful
- Do Be Gentle
- Do Look After property
- Do Be Honest
- Do Work Hard
- Do Listen to People
Our topic next week is Autumn, and we shall have a display table should your child discover anything autumnal over the weekend that they might like to bring along to school to add to our display in the classroom.
This week in Reception, we have been thinking about ‘Magnificent Me’. We talked about what makes us unique and different, but also ways that we are the same. The boys loved joining in with a discussion about what they would like to be when they grow up – it’s exciting to know we have some budding chefs, footballers, and racing car drivers in our midst! The boys have been creating some bright and exciting Andy Warhol inspired portraits. We read the story Marmaduke the Very Different Dragon and talked about how our differences are what make us special, and how important it is to celebrate difference. This story inspired some wonderful drawings and writing – each boy drew a picture of their dragon, decided on a name and then wrote about what made them special. The boys came up with some really creative names and special skills for their dragon, and how wonderful that each dragon was so very different.
In our phonics sessions, we have been learning the sounds p, i, n, and using these letters (along with s, a, t) to blend and segment simple CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words. We hope you enjoyed playing the keyword bingo game we sent home. All the boys have enjoyed their reading this week and we have been pleased with the positive way they have approached this – we worked on pointing to each word as it is read, recognising character names in the text, looking for letter sounds we knew, and, of course, plenty of talk about the story and illustrations. In mathematics, we have been looking at number formation and patterning – the children had to help our pet dragon Sapphire with her patterning as she kept making mistakes!
This week in Year 1, the children have been busy completing addition and subtraction sums, using pictures and number lines to help them find their answers. We practised lots of times, jumping forwards or backwards (depending on the sum) along the number line and writing our answers carefully, the correct way round.
In English, the children have been learning about the vowels and their importance in words. They have also practised forming the letters g, d and q using the cursive style. Please ask them to show you at home how to do this! Yesterday, the children thought about pets that they have at home, or those they would like to have, and drew pictures of these, adding labels and sentences to describe their pet. The teachers were blown away with their brilliant ideas for adjectives!
In other areas of the curriculum, the children have enjoyed grouping animals in different ways, voicing their reasons for becoming a School Councillor and taking part in a vote, uncovering the hidden message in the Bible story “The Good Samaritan” and learning about the different types of home that exist. Another very busy and successful week!
Today in maths, Year 2 did an investigation based on Kandinsky’s triangles. They had to try to count the number of overlapping triangles and other shapes in pictures, which was far trickier than it sounds! During the rest of the week in maths, the children have been revising their knowledge of 2D shape, thinking carefully about the properties different shapes have in terms of sides, vertices and lines of symmetry.
In English, we have thought about how to ask questions, including the words that most questions begin with and remembering to use those all important question marks at the end of a question! Today, we received another very exciting and quite large package from Fairyland; Bon Bon Elf wanted us to write instructions for walks that visitors can go on around the land so that they don’t end up in the Dragon’s Den!
In science, we learned about what all animals need to survive. We then had a challenge to decide what we would take to a desert island with us (no electronics or other people allowed!). There were some interesting ideas, with the most practical ones being a rowboat and a large sandwich.
In topic, we have written some questions to ask older people what their lives were like growing up. The children are very excited about the impending 1950’s themed day we are having next Thursday.
We wish you all a wonderful weekend!