Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 13

This Week

Dear Parents,

A very Happy New Year to you if I have not had the chance to say this to you in person so far this week? We have had a super start to the term and it has been really wonderful to see the pupils back at school looking so refreshed and raring to go! Our new Deputy Head (Academic), Mr Jason Ford, tells me he already feels like he is ‘one of us’. Do please make a point of saying hello when you see him about the place. He also tells me that he has been really impressed with how welcome the boys in the Prep have made him feel. My new PA and Registrar for the school, Miss Hannah Jolley, will begin with us on Monday next week. Again, do please feel free to pop your head through the hatch if ever you are at the Prep to say hello to Miss Jolley in person.

My colleagues and I enjoyed two days of very interesting professional development work at the start of this week. Mr Peter Cowley, an expert who works for the Local Authority on how to keep children safe online shared a terrifically useful presentation with us, aspects of which I believe you might find interesting:

  • Mr Cowley talked a great deal about the importance of our responsibility as adults to try to keep children safe online whilst allowing them to enjoy meaningful and relevant digital experiences at the same time.
  • Please be aware of the insidious nature of the ‘auto play’ function on YouTube. It was shocking for us to see how swiftly children might be unwittingly exposed to obscene filmed material if perfectly innocent videos they are enjoying are left to play one after the other automatically. It does not take long for highly inappropriate material to be the next video in line, which children might find themselves watching. The strong advice is therefore that you set the parental controls such that you as adults can disable the ‘auto play’ function on any device your child uses to access YouTube.
  • Common sense I know, but a further reminder now that if you have not set the sufficient parental controls on the gadgets and devices your children use, you should never let them log on without your careful but not overbearing supervision. We know how hard it is to resist the whinging and whining if they reckon they are being unjustifiably denied access to material they believe ‘everyone else is allowed’ but they will in time get over it and may even possibly grow to thank you for keeping them safe.
  • Mr Cowley will be visiting us one afternoon in the summer term to deliver workshops for the boys in Years 5 and 6 and for parents in the evening. When you see the date in next term’s calendar I strongly urge you to attend as he is a fantastically helpful digital expert!

A new half term signals of course a new assembly theme and up until the middle of February we will be exploring the word ‘fear’. This morning Mrs James presented us with a fascinating brief history of Sweden, her homeland, followed by a look at her family tree to prove how she was related to two very famous, fearsome Vikings. Mrs James then explained how the hopes and fears of the Swedish people over the centuries, beginning with the Viking explorers, have had an impact not only on her but upon the Swedish nation overall. Mrs James summarised a slightly sad and somewhat fearful story, which is now the subject of a very famous piece of musical theatre in Sweden and then – walking the talk – she overcame her own personal fears, and as a wonderful example to us all, sang (IN SWEDISH!) a very beautiful song from the musical to the entire Prep school.

Do please ask your boys what they think being fearful or being brave might mean…!

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith

Headmaster

Prep News

Chris Harrison is the Professional Cricket Coach at Hampton School (since 2005.) Alongside the Hampton School Cricket Programme and Academy, he also offers external courses (holidays and weekends) for anyone wishing to access some high quality cricket coaching. These courses are open to all and are based in the excellent Hampton School Sports Hall. Please click here for details on how to book.

Please note as per the School Calendar that on Thursday 17 January there will be no CCA’s or Late Stay taking place. This is due to a whole staff training session, we thank you for your co-operation by organising alternative arrangements for this day.

Pre-Prep News

A very Happy New Year to you all.  We hope you had a super break with plenty of rest and relaxation. It has been great catching up with the children, hearing all their exciting holiday news.

Hopefully, you will have received the beginning of term letter outlining important forthcoming events – if you haven’t had one, please do contact the School Office.  Two events we wish to flag early (because we are mindful both create extra workloads for parents), are World Book Day (7 March) and the Easter Bonnets (3 April last day of term).  On World Book Day, the children may come to school dressed as their favourite book character and we would like them to bring along the book depicting their chosen character.  Please do send in a photograph of your child reading at home or when out and about for our new ‘Look Who’s Been Caught Reading’ display in the library – we thank you in advance for your help and support, as we know that requests such as these cause added stress to busy lives.

Of course, a new term brings a new focus for our assemblies. On Thursday, Mr Smith introduced the children to the theme for this half term – we will be focusing on the word ‘fear’, interpreting it in many different ways to understand what it might mean to us as well as others.

In assembly today, we shared some of our resolutions for the year ahead and whilst some of us are fearful about not being able to achieve our desired goals, we agreed we would help one another and spur each other on.

I’m sure it won’t surprise you to learn that having only had a few days back at school, Star Awards and Courtesy Cup and Badge were not awarded this week but be assured it starts again next week.  That said, new House and Vice Captains for the term ahead were announced in Thursday’s assembly when Mr Smith was on hand to award the badges.  Therefore, this term they are as follows:

Red Team (Lancaster):  Captain – Harry Hayes and Vice-Captain – Harry Morris

Blue Team (Tudor): Captain – Aashish Gill and Vice-Captain – Toby Bradbury

Green Team (York): Captain – Harry Brisbane and Vice-Captain – Joshua Hill

Yellow Team (Windsor):  Captain – Ayaan Jadoon and Vice-Captain – Harry Sinnett

This term, we will be changing the children on our School Council at Pre-Prep. As you will recall, 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.

Reception have already had a chat about this but, for Years 1 and 2, if your child would like to represent their class, please do discuss this with them over the weekend, so that they have a good think about why they would like to be considered for this role. Next week, they will have the opportunity to give their reasons to their classmates and then the class will vote to decide who will be elected for the Spring Term.

Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …

It has been a lovely start to a new year in Kindergarten. We have been sharing our Christmas Holiday Snapshots with our friends, talking about the exciting things we have enjoyed and places we have visited with our families.

In maths, we have been learning about ‘one more than’. We used pieces of real fruit to feed Mrs Hand’s monkey called Arnold just one more piece at a time! We had fun working out how many in total Arnold would have eaten and then counted carefully to check if our answers were correct.

We also had fun playing ‘Snakes and Ladders’. We rolled the die and counted the dots to move our counters; we loved it when we were able to climb the ladders, but loud groaning could be heard when we landed on those snakes!

The Polar Explorer role-play area has been very busy, as we have donned hats, gloves, scarves and binoculars to go exploring in the cold Artic.

Our topic next week is Winter.

We have had a fabulous start to the spring term in Reception. The children have come back to school well rested and full of stories of the most wonderful Christmas holidays. They all seem to have grown a few centimetres and returned to class focused and ready for learning; we are so impressed, well done Reception!

We have been busy creating beautiful winter pictures this week – bare, spiky trees using charcoal and white chalk on pale blue paper. We have talked about the seasons and looked carefully at our outside environment to notice changes to the world around us – many of the children are hoping for snow this month! We all wrote special New Year Promises – you’ll be pleased to know that lots of the boys promised to help more around the house, folding their clothes, putting dirty clothes in the wash basket, and helping to prepare the tea. We do hope that you see plenty of these promises in action – do let us know! In mathematics, we sang songs about the days of the week and months of the year and worked hard to put these in the correct order.

The children in Year 1 have had a busy first few days back at school, jam-packed with all sorts of activities! They have been learning about ordering numbers, odd and even numbers and repeating patterns in maths. In English, we have been exploring stories set in Africa, (Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain and Handa’s Hen) with a particular focus on the counting of animals in Handa’s Hen. Next week, the children will be writing their own counting stories. The children have tried their absolute best to write sentences that contain a number and an adjective, as well as remembering to include correct punctuation.

In science, the children have been learning about different types of materials by identifying objects and the material that they are made from. They worked in partners and took it in turns to hide and describe an object to their partner, which they had lots of fun doing! In Life Skills, the class discussed the difference between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and thought of their own examples where they had made the right or wrong decision. We spoke about the importance of making right choices when we are in tricky scenarios and how we could do this.

Year 2 have come back to school full of enthusiasm, with exciting tales from Christmas! In maths, we have been ordering and comparing numbers before placing these onto blank number lines. Today, we carried out an investigation into odd and even numbers using cubes. We looked at what shapes odd and even numbers made and how this changed when adding on other odd or even numbers.

We began English by hearing one of our old favourites – Little Red Riding Hood – before thinking about how the Wolf might have described her. The children used thesauruses to think of some fabulous descriptive sentences, including:

She has evil black eyes.

Her hair is the colour of trodden on slugs.

Her shoes are appallingly dirty.

She has a cape the colour of blood.

We began our new humanities topic ‘Inspiring Individuals’ by learning about the life of the famous diarist Samuel Pepys before writing our own diary entries all about our Christmas holiday. Some enjoyed this so much that they have vowed to keep a diary, though they might write theirs in a secret code like Pepys so that only they can understand it!  The children are already beginning to get excited about their trip to the Florence Nightingale Museum at the end of the month.

We wish you all a wonderful weekend.