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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 15

This Week

Dear Parents,

Pupils and staff alike here know all too well how much I greatly enjoy a ‘happy coincidence’. Moments of serendipity, howsoever they come about, are always a source of some considerable joy to me and help to stave off the despair I occasionally feel after struggling through any period of mundane routine activity. One such moment of coincidence occurred on Tuesday this week, just as I arrived to read to Year 2 in the afternoon. Miss Goscomb was talking to the boys at some length about phobias, based on the ways in which the Pre-Prep pupils are being gently introduced to our assembly theme of ‘fear’ this half term. Not only did the boys know what phobias were, they could also spell a few tricky ones too. Amazingly, Mme Houghton, our part-time French teacher in the Prep had based her assembly on phobias for the boys in Years 3 – 6 that very morning!

We were all really wowed by Mme Houghton’s assembly. She had some very interactive and rather gruesome sounding tasks for boys to have a go at, in front of everyone else, in order to establish just exactly at what point fear turns into bravery: plunging hands into a box full of squelchy worms anyone?? (A box full of cold spaghetti more like!) What impressed us all most was Mme Houghton’s very sensible advice: in order to overcome our fears and phobias, however irrational they may be, she explained that often tackling them in small, incremental steps can work wonders. Boys were encouraged to come up with their own step-by-step processes for overcoming any fear they might have in order to help them become braver. You could ask your boy about the particular strategy he might have devised?

Mr Cantelo and the boys in 5Ca treated us to even more analysis of what ‘fear’ might mean this morning. It was very brave and especially grown up of them to consider the emotional origins of any fearful response we might have. There was some excellent advice from them too, which they hope will help us develop and maintain a proportionate response when we might ever feel we are in a vulnerable situation.

Thursday morning was wet and cold and just the type of morning that can produce a solemn mood but not this week in Year 4. Excitement filled the air, as they were off to ‘The Golden Hinde,’ Sir Francis Drake’s famous ship that navigated the world during the 16th century. The year group were treated to preparing minions (no, not the little yellow people) rather their proper namesake, which are a type of small cannon. They took part in role plays, learnt about the lives of sailors aboard a Tudor ship whilst developing their historical enquiry skills all, I am told, with a smile upon their faces.

Year 6 has embarked on a new cycle of Life Skills lessons, focusing on what success means to them. The boys shared a plethora of thoughts such as success is taking small steps towards your goal; success is living a happy life, doing what you like; making a positive change to the world etc. They have also been discussing how they might best exploit their own successful endeavours for the benefit of others. (Sir David Attenborough apparently came up in comparison to Donald Trump…!) As the results of the various exams boys have been sitting start to arrive over the coming weeks, Year 6 will continue exploring notions of success and celebration, as well as focussing on what strengths they have developed so far to face the next academic year.

I believe I may have referred you all before – via links in previous Bulletins – to an online internet safety magazine for parents entitled ‘parentzone’? I received their latest newsletter this week and I found the article on how to keep children safe whilst they are playing web based games in groups (possibly with or against people they do not know personally) very helpful. The core messages in the article chime very closely with matters that our Local Authority internet safety expert Peter Cowley brought to our attention as a staff at one of our training sessions before the start of this term. As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Mr Cowley will be here to speak to you all in the summer term. If you have not come across any of this sort of material before, please see the link below to the ‘parentzone’ article if you are interested:

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith


Sports News

A belated Happy New Year. The rugby season got well under way in my absence and I have been hearing great things about the games we have played so far and the hard working attitude of the boys. I saw this at first hand this week with a great training session with the U11 boys on Monday and the first of our fixtures this week for the U9s. This was against a new opponent, in St. John’s from Northwood.

All the boys in the year group were selected to play and despite the cold weather there was a really positive vibe to the afternoon. The four matches were evenly balanced, with a close win for the A and C team and a relatively narrow loss for the B and the D team. The staff from St. John’s were really complimentary about our boys conduct and the standard of our play and so this is hopefully a relationship we can maintain as we move into the cricket season.

On Wednesday the U11 boys played against Willington. Due to school entrance exams Willington were a little short on players and so the boys picked to play in the B and C teams were amalgamated and mixed with the Willington boys to create two matches. It was great to see the boys interact and make the Willington boys feel welcome and two good matches were played. We didn’t record the scores or bother about who won, it was just great to see all the boys get on the pitch.

The A team played their match as originally planned and it was a good first run out for them with a 10-0 win. We had worked on some things on Monday in training and the boys worked to try and implement these things into their play. It wasn’t perfect but the desire to try and make these things happen was the pleasing aspect. They look like a solid well organised team, which is a great place to start from and I envisage a really successful season.

At home the U10 A team played against St Georges Windsor and recorded a resounding win. This team continue to go from strength to strength. I took them in Year 4 and although they had potential it was clear a lot of the boys lacked experience. Many of these boy now play club rugby too and with the expert coaching from Mr Salt twice a week, they really are developing into a great team. I expect their rivalry with the U11s as to the most successful team, will therefore continue to run, as it did in the football season.

Tomorrow the U9s play against St. Benedict’s and the matches continue to come thick and fast next week. On Monday the U11s and the U10s play against Surbiton. On Wednesday TPS are their opponents and then on Friday the U9s and the U8s also play against TPS. The week after will see us start our Cross Country trials in preparation for the Epsom College Prep Schools Championship and our House Cross Country the following week. So please encourage your boys to get out there and get some miles in their legs in preparation.

Have a lovely weekend.

Prep News

In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Aron Drishti (3W) For his persistent effort and fantastic progress during our maths topic of time; Jasper Miles (4S) For sheer grit and determination during a recent rugby match and epitomising Hampton Prep Spirit; Cormac Gray-Fahy (5Ch) For an excellent collection of book reviews for the English Reading Challenge and Sebastian Woods (5Ca) For an impressively mature, original and innovative mathematical method when solving a complex problem. Well done to those boys!

This week saw our Year 4 boys head off on the first trip of this term, our explorers made their way into London to visit the Golden Hinde:

Pre-Prep News

Wednesday’s smattering of snow caused great excitement here at Pre-Prep; it is amazing that with only a tiny covering of snow we still managed to build (albeit) tiny snowmen!  Should the weather take a turn for the worse in the next few weeks, please keep a very close eye on the school website, as this will have up-to-date information about whether or not the school remains open.

In assemblies this week, we have continued to explore the theme ‘fear’.  Mr Smith talked about facing one’s fears – for indeed, quite often things do not turn out as originally feared.  Sometimes, after all, taking a risk and being brave often leaves one with a good, positive feeling and a sense of accomplishment in the long run.

Today, we discussed phobias, discovering that they are an overwhelming fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal.  Some phobias have some pretty strange names – perhaps the children will remember some discussed in today’s assembly?

This week, the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Harry Sinnett (Year 2) who demonstrated great politeness and courtesy to visitors to our school last week – well done!

and Stars of the Week to:

Year 2: Daniel Taylor for trying so hard to write an interesting ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ story.

Year 1: Aryan Tewatia for working super hard in English to remember all punctuation and presenting his work beautifully.

Reception:  George Uskov for excellent reading progress this term.  We are delighted with George’s determined attitude and approach to reading.

We celebrated recent swimming awards gained by Rishi Schneider (Year 1).  He achieved badges in the following three areas: swimming front crawl, backstroke and for having deep-water confidence.  Very well done, Rishi!  Our congratulations also go to Aubin Williams (Reception) who was awarded a trophy for being part of the ‘Team for the Week’ at Quins rugby club – good effort, Aubin!

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

It has been an out of this world week in Kindergarten. We have explored, discussed, observed and even had a go at being a part of the solar system. We have really embraced all there is to learn about planets – from what they are made of, to the differences in size, colours, temperature and materials.

Having completed the research, the children used paints and pastels to replicate their favourite planet, explaining why they had made their choices. They used their design skills to papier-mâché all eight planets and make them look as real as possible by using a range of media for colour and texture.  They also worked hard using their fine motor skills to cut out their own astronauts and assemble them together with the use of split pins. Their enthusiasm for this topic has really allowed us to enjoy and grasp lots of appropriate language linked to space and the planets. In class discussions and during the course of the week, the children have not only been using the names of the planets, but have been using words such as gravity, force, oxygen, solar system, sun, moon, space station and astronauts.

Next week, we continue the topic but will be focusing on the story ‘Aliens Love Underpants’.

Reception have been exploring the world using the five senses, finding out in detail how each one works by taking part in some exciting experiences to enhance understanding.  For example, we travelled around the classroom with a blindfold on to explore what life might be like without sight. We talked about the sense of taste and had the chance to sample sweet jam, bitter dark chocolate, salty crisps and sour lemon.  The children discussed their favourites and described each food.  We also taste tested a variety of crisp flavours and then had to try to guess the flavour. Following this experiment, we conducted a survey to find out their favourites and turned this information into a tally chart.  We decoded this information to find out which was the most popular, least popular and asked questions about how many people liked each flavour.

In our phonics sessions, we have continued to practise recognising and spelling tricky words and learnt the digraph ‘qu’.  Ask your child to tell you the story of poor old letter ‘q’ who could only go out and spell words with her friend ‘u’. Our Friday morning was tremendous fun as we used our sense of hearing to listen to a range of different music – from drum and bass, to jazz, to classical – and responded using our bodies, and also, by drawing. We saw some wonderful, expressive dancing and it was such a fun way to end our busy week.

This week, Year 1 have been busy learning all about Traditional Tales. We have read a wide variety of tales, explaining which was our favourite using the word ‘because’ in our responses. Today, the children have completed a reading comprehension and it was pleasing to see that so many of them are developing brilliant skills for this by underlining key information and looking for important clues in the text. In phonics, our focus has been the ‘ee’ sound and we have looked at the alternative spellings for this, /e-e/, /ea/ and /ie/.

During our maths lessons, we have been concentrating on 3D shapes, using and applying the correct terminology. The children have completed lots of matching activities and yesterday sorted a whole range of shapes into 2D and 3D. Next week, we will be returning to counting in 2s, 5s and 10s.

We had lots of fun in science this week, finding out which materials were magnetic in our classroom! The children have also been acting as ‘weather watchers’ each day, recording the weather on our ‘Today’s Weather Changes’ chart. Next week, our attention turns to extreme types of weather.

Shapes have been the focus of the week for maths in Year 2. We have been consolidating our knowledge of 2D and 3D shapes and have been using the language faces, vertices and edges. Yesterday, we went on a shape walk around Pre-Prep to see which different shapes we could spot. We found plenty of cylinders, spheres and cuboids and even a few hexagonal prisms!

In English, we heard the Russian story of Baba Yaga. We then wrote descriptions of Baba Yaga’s house and of the witch herself. In grammar, we learned how to add ‘s’ and ‘es’ when making different word into plurals.

In science, we carried out an investigation to see whether hard materials were absorbent or not. During ICT, we used PurpleMash to design circus posters – we thought carefully about when the circus would take place, where it would be and what attractions would be included.

There was much excitement when revealing Florence Nightingale as our new ‘Inspiring Individual’; we are looking forward to learning much more about her on our trip next week.

Have a wonderful weekend!

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster