Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 10
I was assisting with the inspection of another school this week, which is always a fascinating experience. I am an inherently ‘nosy parker’ so having the chance to experience life at very close quarters for a few days in someone else’s school is always a real privilege and of course helps me to look at what we do here in a new light.
The development of the boys’ vocabulary in the Prep is one of the matters Mrs Campbell and I find ourselves returning to on a regular basis when we chat about what we think is going well at our school. We believe it is impossible to overstate the importance of a broad and ever-increasing vocabulary for our boys. Being ‘word-poor’ at a young age can have far-reaching negative consequences for our boys and most certainly means they will have to play catch up with their peers once they reach secondary school at least. It is our ‘mission’ across the curriculum range here to make sure all colleagues, whatever they teach, are working to develop the boys’ vocabulary. New words are accumulated as we discuss, write about and acquire new knowledge – in every subject – and lists and reading book tasks are set as prep with this in mind. The talk and reading that is done at home with you, as the boys’ parents, is also enormously important so that they are living in a constantly ‘word-rich’ environment.
The boys in Year 5 had a rather exciting and different day today. A number of them have headed off to Manchester on a football tour and return to London tomorrow. Others in Year 5 stayed at school and tried out two new sports they would not normally get the chance to experience: there was a fencing workshop for them this morning and this afternoon they went ‘bouldering’ at Hampton School which is, as I understand it, a version of rock climbing.
Mrs Hynes and Mrs McGuire, as Co-Chairs of the HPPPA, have asked me to remind you all about the Association’s very jolly sounding Christmas party due to take place in Richmond next Friday night. I know it will be an especially festive affair! Assisted by others in the Association they have gone to great lengths to lay on a really terrific sounding evening. Do please look to buy tickets for this event if you have not already done so.
Have a great weekend,
Unbelievably there is only one week to go of the football season. Next week sees most age groups play their last fixture of the term, with the last two weeks being dedicated to preparing for our rugby season. However, before that we have all the boys in Year 3 playing against Surbiton High on Tuesday and then the Colts (U10 & U11 combined) will play on Wednesday. Finally, on the Friday all the boys in Year 3 and 4 will play against Bishopsgate on Friday.
Last Friday the majority of the boys in Year 3 and 4 played against TPS. There were wins, losses and draws across the board but we certainly won more than we lost and it was great to see the development in the play of these boys. The start of term (particularly in Year 3) saw all the boys chasing the ball like a swarm of bees. Now they are holding their own space, looking for passes and moving into new positions. It has been a long term and the staff have worked very hard with all the boys and we are certainly seeing the fruits of our labour in these last few weeks.
That very same message was relayed to me yesterday. A Claremont Fan Court teacher had remarked to Mr Arnold how he could see that the boys had been coached and were playing in an obvious formation. This was in relation to the U11s, but in particular to the C team which in fact was a mixture of C and D team boys. I think this just goes to show that our methods work and that the boys are so receptive and hard working in their approach to improving.
That set of fixtures resulted in three draws and a win. The win came from the A team who won 5-1. I was with the B team who drew 0-0, but had the majority of the possession and would have won if not for two magnificent saves by their goalkeeper in the dying minutes.
The day before all the U9 boys played against Newland House, in what were pretty horrible and cold conditions. That said, they stuck to it and we won three of the four matches.
On Monday the U10 A&B also played against Claremont Fan Court, with a tight draw the result of the A team game and a rather easier win for the B team boys.
Today the U9 A&B boys played against Weston Green. However, Mr Chilcott, Mr Salt and I will not be here to see these games, as we will be in Altrincham on the outskirts of Manchester kicking off against Altrincham Prep as part of the U10 football tour. First thing this morning we set of on the long journey, after our match we will go bowling this evening and then tomorrow we visit the National Football Museum before we travel to Old Trafford to watch Manchester United v Crystal Palace.
The boys that aren’t coming to Manchester are being treated to a fencing workshop at LEH School in the morning followed by an afternoon receiving tuition on the climbing wall at Hampton school. All in all, it will be a pretty exciting day for Year 5 and I look forward to telling you all about it next week.
Have a good weekend.
In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Eric Rainey (3W) For completing his first voyage of the Reach for the Stars Programme demonstrating continued effort and progress in Reading and Spelling. Lucas Band, Archie Duggan (both 4S) and Richard Baker (5Ca) For completing another voyage of the Reach for the Stars Programme demonstrating continued effort and progress in Reading and Spelling. Bertie Bishop (4S) For making outstanding progress in reading as a result of his hard work, resilience and determination to succeed. Well done to those boys!
During the Christmas Holidays and throughout the Spring Term, Chris Harrison will be running cricket coaching courses at Hampton School which is ideal for young cricketers to have fun and improve their game. Each session will include skill drills for batting, bowling and fielding as well as net and match play practice. A great way to make big progress before the 2019 season! For more details on how to register click here
School Council held their first event of the year today by organising a ‘silly sock’ day in aid of the Greenwood Centre in Hampton Hill. An impressive amount of colourful socks were on display and we will announce the total raised in next edition of the bulletin. We would, however, like to say a very big thank you for your support!
Following on from last week’s Anti-Bullying Week, we have launched a competition for the children to design posters to reinforce the important messages discussed and, in particular, to highlight the theme ‘Choose Respect’. Please note the deadline for entries is Monday 3 December.
As promised last week, we will be sending out a letter detailing events in the lead up to Christmas. We look forward to welcoming you to our first production on Thursday 6 December in the James Hall at 2.30pm when Reception, Years 1 and 2 perform ‘Once Upon a Christmas Time’. Kindergarten’s nativity ‘Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh’ takes place in the following week (Wednesday 12 December), and will be performed in their classroom at 11.15am.
With regard to games /PE over the next few weeks, please note the following:
- No games for Reception, Years 1 and 2 next Thursday (29 November) and then again on the day of our production Thursday 6 December however we would like the children to come to school dressed in their PE kit on Thursday 6 December, as this will assist them in changing into and out of their costumes.
- Wednesday PE sessions for Years 1 on 28 November and 5 December continue as normal – so please do send in your child’s kit on these days.
In our assembly on Thursday, Alex Dale (Reception) received a trophy from his club Walton Casuals Football Club; he scored a goal for his team. Well done, Alex!
This week, the Courtesy Cup and Badge were awarded to Aubin Williams (Reception) for consistently demonstrating excellent manners to both his friends and his teachers.
and Stars of the Week went to:
Year 2: Harry Brisbane for learning how to and remembering to join his writing. Well done, Harry!
Year 1: Tom Ellman-Brown for his brilliant writing this week – keep it up, Tom!
Reception: Viaan Nichani for always approaching learning and school life with a cheery smile.
Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …
Kindergarten have enjoyed their Gingerbread man topic this week. We have read many different versions of the story, noticing that whilst the story stays the same, the characters vary from story to story. Using the character mask props, we acted out the story as a class and all joined in with the repeated refrain ‘run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man’! We collaged gingerbread men to add to our huge 3D gingerbread house display and then together we collaged a giant gingerbread man – we liked working as a team. We also had fun making playdough that smelt just like the gingerbread man.
On a cold and frosty Thursday, we wrapped up warm and set off on our journey to the bakers. We were very good at using our road safety knowledge – we held on to our partner’s hand, crossed the roads safely without talking and used our eyes and our ears to watch and listen for traffic. We then took our coins into the shop and asked the lady for a gingerbread reindeer very politely so much so we were praised for our manners, politeness and behaviour. The lady packaged each of our reindeers into a paper bag which we carefully carried back to school, ready to take home to enjoy.
Our topic next week is Winter.
This week in Reception, we have continued work on ‘Choosing Respect’. On Wednesday, the children took it in turns to pull a name out of a tin. As a class we then thought about what makes that person special. We gave each child three compliments – children commented on their friends’ abilities to use kind hands, play fun games and that they had lovely smiles and happy faces. It was a joy to watch each child as they received their compliment – their faces were a picture. We spoke about how important it is to say kind things and how that makes people feel. Children will receive a note of these compliments in their book bags, along with a picture, drawn for them by a friend.
In mathematics, we have continued working on our sharing skills – using the words divide, share, fair and equal. The children loved thinking about Miss Johnston and Mrs Timba sharing cakes – it was tricky when there was an odd number of cakes, but the children came up with some creative suggestions about how to make it fair (including them helping out with the eating!). Eventually, someone suggested that the best solution was to cut the remaining cake in half.
We concluded the week with some work on road safety – with nights drawing in, we spoke about how important it was to stay close to an adult and to think about staying safe on the roads. We learnt the code stop, look, listen, think to remember when we approach a road to cross.
In Year 1, the children have completed a range of activities based on the book ‘Harvey Slumfenburger’s Christmas Present’ by John Burningham, such as designing their own home. The children came up with some brilliant, creative ideas, and thought about how easy or difficult it might be for Father Christmas to get in to deliver them a gift! Today, we pretended to be Harvey by writing a card to Father Christmas, thanking him for the effort he made to deliver the present on time. Other activities included correcting the missing punctuation from the text. Next week, we will be learning about the features of letter writing and each child will write their own letter to Father Christmas!
In maths, the children have been learning about directions and positional language. This included learning left and right, as well as using words like up, down, top, middle, bottom, under, in, behind, on top of and above. We have also been thinking a lot about how many tens and ones are in a number. For example, 35 is made up of 3 tens and 5 ones. Next week, we will be returning to addition and subtraction within 20, including solving missing number problems such as 13 + ? = 15 and word problems.
The children are really enjoying learning about The Great Fire of London as part of our houses and homes topic. They drew some super pictures, showing what the houses and roads were like before and after the fire this week.
Year 2 had a very noisy English lesson today, singing ‘London’s Burning’ in various different ways including in rounds and using different percussion instruments! This was part of the continuation of our work on poetry and learning about syllables as chunks of sound.
This week in maths, we have revised multiplying and dividing 5, 10 and 4. We have also done some work on time, learning to tell the time on an analogue clock to the nearest quarter of an hour. The children are increasingly good at this, to the point of reminding the teachers when it is 10:30 (playtime), 12 o’clock (lunchtime) and 2.30 (afternoon play)!
This week in topic, we have been learning about different sweet treats from the last 100 years. As part of this, today we made cupcakes and enjoyed decorating and eating them.
Have a super weekend!