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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 16

This Week

Dear Parents,

 F  A  I  L  U  R  E


It was great to see two U10 rugby teams playing in fixtures so well against one of our traditional, local sporting rivals in Carlisle Park on Thursday. I was impressed with the individual play from each boy but also impressed with the way in which their very concerted efforts contributed to the greater good of the team overall.

I was wondering, as I watched, if the boys had in mind the diagram above? I have definitely been reflecting upon it ever since Mr Ford cleverly talked us through the connection between fear and failure he had made in the past, in his assembly in the Prep on Wednesday morning. Rugby was the theme for him, as he conveyed how, as a (slightly!) younger man the club team for whom he played at the time had “enjoyed” a very mixed season one year, struggling through quite a large number of successive defeats. The turning point for his team was when they, together, overcame their fears of anticipating yet another brutal Saturday afternoon of rugby, and their anticipated next loss against another gloating team in their division. As a team, they all concluded that their fear of failure was indeed starting to hold them back. Mr Ford explained how he now knows that it is far better not to fear failure, but instead to fear not trying at all in the first place. It was a terrific lesson for us all.

Excellent spelling matters of course, as does thinking carefully about how words are pronounced. On Monday morning Year 3 enjoyed spending time in their ‘Reading Café’. The boys had to pick three books from our library here at school – a starter, a main and a pud – that they had not read before and dip in and out of each book, before deciding if they would like to gobble the whole book up in one read! Plenty of them are now doing just that it seems; I am very glad boys are being encouraged to select literature they might not have considered before and are widening their reading interests to include all sorts of novels.

After a slightly delayed start on Thursday, Year 5 visited Reading Museum, to take part in a ‘day in the life of a Victorian school’. Suitably attired for a trip to the past, the boys experienced life inside a traditional Victorian classroom, with the edict that children must be ‘seen and not heard’. A stark – and long since abandoned, thankfully! – contrast to the usual freedom of expression that is part of their daily school experience now. However, it was interesting to observe how they all took to chanting verses and tables and how silently they sat and listened. Outside the classroom a good deal of fun was had as they learnt about the menial tasks of a working child. Rest assured that the next time you have a power failure you will be able to set your son to work with a washboard and a carpet beater.

Mr Henderson is a great wag; I am very glad about that. My fondness for his sense of humour was however pushed to the limit in the Prep this morning as he and the boys in 4H bounced Mr Darmon and me into a very fearful experience in assembly, in front of all the boys and plenty of mums and dads! I was most definitely expected to put my money where my mouth is and walk the talk, in terms of confronting my fears. 4H were ably assisted in presenting their assembly this morning by Mercury, a real life PYTHON SNAKE (!) kindly brought in by one of the 4H boys and chaperoned by him and his mother. Turns out – and I had not hitherto fully realised this until today – I am afraid of snakes. Really afraid: sweaty palms, nauseous tummy, shaking hands, red faced afraid. (Mr Darmon was not much better!) Poor Mercury – he stole the show in the end, which I am hoping distracted attention away from the fact that my fear of him, although a little more controlled due to 4H’s practical and empathetic suggestions, did not entirely dissipate. For some of us it takes time to develop and rely upon a brave and appropriately fearless approach to life’s challenges, but as this morning proved to us all it is never too late to start.

Have a great weekend,


Tim Smith


Sports News

So as things stand we have been pretty lucky with the weather and unlike the rest of the country we have been able to carry on with our sport here at Hampton Prep as normal. I write this early Friday morning and maybe our luck will run out this afternoon but we will do everything in our power to make sure the boys play their matches as scheduled.

As there hasn’t been any disruption so far, there have been plenty of matches taking place this week across all the year groups. On Monday the stage was set for the C and D teams at both U10 and U11 when they played against Surbiton High at home. Surbiton have got a really small year group in Year 6 and as explained by their head of sport, they aren’t particularly strong when it comes to rugby. As we are, we decided that we would field our C&D teams and make the afternoon across both year groups purely about these boys. In turned out that Surbiton were a little bit too strong for us at U11 but at U10 we recorded two sound victories. Regardless of the results the boys battled on from start to finish and it was great to see them working as a team and supporting each other, even in adversity.

On Wednesday the U11s and U10s were in action again but this time the A and B teams were playing against Twickenham Prep. We recorded wins across the board and the boys were excellent in making sure they stayed disciplined and continued to put into practice the things they had been learning in training. With regards to the U11 A team, I/we as a team, are very conscious of the upcoming Surrey Junior Rugby festival and the stiff opposition we will be up against. Therefore, it is vital that we continue to work on certain aspects of our play, if we are to give a good account of ourselves on the day. Even if not necessarily forced to do so by the opposition.

The U10 As had a tough match and eventually ran out 6-5 winners. After talking to Mr Salt he explained that they are just too nice! You might regard this as an odd thing to say. However, I fully understand and there are times in rugby when you need to go about your business with a little bit more grit, determination and aggression. The team have all the skills and scored some lovely tries but were being controlled at the breakdown, when the real physical aspect of the game comes in to play. Therefore, next week’s training will all revolve around how to be a bit more mean and how to physically intimidate the opposition. Rest assured, that this is the only point in the curriculum when this is one of the ‘intended learning outcomes’.

The U9s and U8s are scheduled to play Twickenham Prep today, so let’s hope the temperature rises slightly, the pitches thaw out and the boys are able to end their week on a high. If not, we will do our best to re-arrange the fixture if at all possible.

Early this morning we also had news from the council, that for the next 7 days we will be unable to play on Carlisle park. This is because the pitches are not in fantastic condition and they would like to give them some time to recover. Obviously this has an impact on our games programme and some scheduled fixtures.

As things stand we will hold Year 5 and 6 games at Hatherop Park which will mean we will also still be able to hold our Cross Country trials. The fixture for the U8 boys against Willington on Tuesday will be held at Hampton School. However, more details will be sent to you in due course, as and when the final arrangements have been made.

I do hope you understand that this matter is out of our hands. That said, we will do our level best to provide our usual games provision and with the least possible disruption.

Whatever your plans this weekend, I hope they are not too disrupted by the weather. However, if they are, at least, finally, at last, it’s the start of the Six Nations! Good luck, especially to the English!

Prep News

In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Ethan Hynes (4S) For a homework about how to produce drinking water on a desert island. Ethan went the extra mile and produced a page of writing detailing 5 potential sources of drinkable water! Massimo Palladino (5Ch) For a powerful, vivid and beautifully crafted piece of creative writing based on the discovery of the remains of a German bomber in The Machine Gunners; Luigi De Lellis Brockwell, Harresh Jayanthan, Shay Patel and Leil D’Souza (all 6C) For creating an informative leaflet on how to keep a young child healthy.

Here are some photos of Year 3 taking part in the Reading Cafe in the James Hall on Monday:

A great day was had by Year 5 when they went back in time on their trip to the Reading Museum on Thursday, looking at how the Victorians lived:

Pre-Prep News

Fascinating discussions ensued as we continued the assembly theme ‘fear’.  Having focused on phobias last week, we already knew the meaning of atychiphobia and enjoyed hearing the story, ‘The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes’ by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein.  This centred round a little girl named Beatrice Bottomwell, who never once made a mistake in her life. This, however, changed half way through the tale and, in fact, Beatrice offers an important lesson we could all benefit from: learn from your mistakes, let go, laugh and enjoy the ride!

We are thrilled that Mrs James will be visiting Pre-Prep to deliver an assembly next week – we simply cannot wait to hear all about the Vikings and can only imagine what a fearsome bunch they were!

Next Tuesday (5 February) is an important date for two reasons – not only is it Chinese New Year but also Safer Internet Day.  As part of our ongoing commitment to safeguarding, we have a range of age-appropriate activities to reinforce important messages about keeping safe online.  We would encourage you to take-a-look at the Safer Internet Day site – likewise, Childnet and the NSPCC websites are very good sources of information for parents in this digital age.

Year 2 had a great outing by all accounts and returned to school buzzing from their encounter with Florence Nightingale.  So plausible was she in her role, some felt they really had stepped back in time. It is always so lovely to hear the children talking animatedly about their visits off-site, but also so wonderful to learn what fabulous ambassadors they were for the School.  Year 2 were no exception and Florence remarked upon their superb manners – Miss Goscomb shares more details below.

We were pleased to congratulate Thomas Double (Reception) for achieving Level 2 Learn to Swim award – well done, Thomas.  He told us he is working on Level 3 during his lessons at Hampton Open Air Pool.

This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge were awarded to Joshua Hill (Year 2) for always having lovely manners and a cheerful disposition – well done!

and Stars of the Week to:

Year 2:  Arthur Band for making excellent progress with his maths – in particular, his adding and taking away.

Year 1: Krishi Parmar for his brilliant attitude towards writing.  He is determined and really hard working – keep it up!

Reception: Theo Constanti for excellent contributions to our Supersonic Phonic sessions.

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

It has been a cosmic week in Kindergarten! We focused our learning around the story ‘Alien Loves Underpants’ by Claire Freedman, which we found very funny! Having painted and named our own aliens, we needed the perfect planet for them to live on. A colourful planet of red, green and orange named Planet Hawkon, was created for this purpose.

Something very strange happened on Wednesday morning – we found lots of different objects scattered around the playground alongside a letter from The Aliens. They had accidentally dropped things from their spaceship but they did not have time to stop to pick them up as they needed to get back to their planet. They asked us to send the magnetic items back to them as the other items would float away. Using the magnetic wands, we sorted the items into ‘magnetic’ and ‘non-magnetic’ groups. We had so much fun investigating magnetic objects that we continued to find other magnetic objects around our classroom.

We have been honing our culinary skills too. We made orange space jelly as a class and looked at and discussed the changes that occurred. It started off as a powder before becoming a liquid and finally set into a “wobbly” solid. We also made edible cheesy planets and moons using puff pastry – we were amazed to find that they grew in size when they were cooked.

Next week, the space journey continues with the delightful story, ‘Whatever Next’ by Jill Murphy.

Brrrrrrr, it has been a chilly week here in Reception, as we have taken a trip to Antarctica to meet some penguin friends! Having read lots of penguin tales, we then used them to inspire our independent writing. We wrote about what might happen if a penguin came to stay – some thought they would have fun with their penguin at the park, some played Lego with him, and one little boy thought they could fly off to India together.  We read an information book about penguins and learnt some interesting penguin facts – we learnt that daddy penguins carry the egg on their feet for two months, with no food at all before the egg is ready to hatch – we all thought that sounded like a very tough job indeed!  We were impressed with the children’s ability to recall the facts they had learnt … so much so we awarded them all ‘penguin expert’ certificates!  Making 3D penguins, which can stand up, helped to develop our skills using the stapler, scissors and glue – we talked about different joining and fixing methods, and which were most appropriate for this job.

In mathematics, we have done lots of counting on – using the number line and hundred square to answer one more, two more and three more questions. We also began counting in 2s and talked about this as an efficient method of counting larger groups of objects.

We were so excited to welcome Hampton School Nurse Liz Searle to our classroom on Wednesday. She spoke to the children about the best way to wash their hands. She taught them four steps to effective handwashing – 1) Wet, 2) Soap, 3) Rinse, 4) Dry.  She also brought her special UV lamp and magical “glitterbug potion”. The children rubbed the clear potion over their hands which represented invisible germs, then they held their hands under the lamp to see how their hands were covered. Next they washed their hands before holding their hands back under the lamp. We were surprised to see how many ‘germs’ were still present, and agreed plenty of soap and careful attention to the back of your hands was the answer!

This week Year 1 have been enjoying listening to more traditional stories and had a go at writing their own alternative ending to their favourite one. Some of their ideas included The Three Little Pigs eating the wolf after catching him, tickling the giant’s toes at the top of the beanstalk and Snow White running away to a different country to escape her evil stepmother! Today the children have used their phonics knowledge to create names for aliens.

In maths, we have been looking at early multiplication by counting sets of objects such as 3 sets of 2 makes 6 altogether. Next week, we will move on to early division and sharing.

Our afternoon sessions have been jam-packed with all sorts of activities including finding out all about extreme types of weather, properties of materials and practising our touch typing skills.

It was a very exciting week for Year 2 this week as on Wednesday we visited the Florence Nightingale museum to support the work we have been doing in our humanities lessons. The museum is situated just off Westminster Bridge, so we saw many famous London landmarks during the day including the Houses of Parliament, the Elizabeth Tower, the London Eye and even glimpses of Waterloo Station, the Shard and Charing Cross! We had a workshop with the very strict Florence Nightingale who told us all about her life and the changes she made during it. We took part in activities in the museum, including learning about herbs used for medicine in the Crimean War, comparing hospitals from the past with our modern day ones and dressing up as nurses and soldiers. The children were commended by Florence on their excellent behaviour, beautiful manners and interesting questions – well done Year 2! We were very grateful to Mrs Cole and Mrs Hill for giving up their day to come along and help us.

The rest of our week has flown by with revising multiplication and division in maths, including the 2, 3 and 4 times tables. Today, Mr Smith appeared with a letter and ten garden canes for us! He has just got some lion cubs for Prep but needed some help with designing the biggest possible pen to put them in. Of course, we were happy to help and have drawn up some designs which we hope will be suitable.

In English, we acted out Baba Yaga and Hansel and Gretel. We also did a comprehension activity on Baba Yaga and had to think really carefully about answering questions in full sentences. In grammar, we learned about pronouns and when to use them.

Our science lesson was a bit messy, as we investigated what materials are waterproof and why.  Before ending the lesson, we tried to answer the question of whether humans are waterproof. In ICT we used our word processing skills to design maps and make keys for our designs.

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster