Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 18

This Week

Dear Parents,

Mrs Tinkler and her EGGSellent assembly on Monday was the beginning of the end for us all here in the Prep, regarding our exploration of the theme of ‘fear’ this half term. Her willing accomplices in her mission to highlight the relationship between feeling fearful and finding oneself in changed circumstances were Miss Barton and Miss Berry, two of our brave Gap Year Teaching Assistants. Do please ask your boys what they made of assembly on Monday. You might have heard their gasps and roars from home as the boys certainly had a ‘cracking’ good time! Mr Chilcott and 5Ch concluded our assembly programme this morning with a philosophically and scientifically inspired presentation on what fear means and how to overcome it. I was struck by the relationship they highlighted between feeling fearful and the associated loss of personal freedom as a consequence. It was a very mature and exceptionally well presented assembly, with a great deal of humour involved too.

It fell to me then, mid-week, to add my final thoughts into the mix regarding the theme of ‘fear’. This half term I wished to explain how various civilisations and societies have overcome their fears of the unknown by mythologizing their own arrival on earth. We have looked at four civilisations in particular, and how their creation myths were attempts at answering the ‘big questions’ that have plagued humanity since time immemorial; questions such as ‘Who are we?’, ‘Where do we come from?’ and ‘Where are we heading?’ On Wednesday we looked at the elements each society had in common, despite their quite extraordinarily different stories.

I emphasised the idea that appearing very different on the outside belies some fundamental personal feelings and beliefs that are the same for all of humankind. The civilisations and societies I have been covering with the boys over successive weeks are:

  • The people of the Korean Peninsula
  • The Māori people of Aotearoa/New Zealand
  • The Maasai people of Kenya
  • The ancient Aztec people

On Wednesday I also set the boys in the Prep a challenge for half term. I told them I would be telling you all about this too. It would be terrific – if the boys so wished and if they found themselves knocking about one afternoon with not much to do next week – for those who are suitably inspired to produce a creation myth explaining the origins of humankind themselves. How’s that for an easy afternoon of fun?? I do not mind what form or shape the boys’ myths come in – a one-page story? a short poem? a picture? a model? a diagram? a film?? – and this is by no means compulsory, but I hope it might act as a spur for the development not only of their reasoning, but also their growing understanding of themselves. I would be equally very happy for any boy just to come and talk to me, if they preferred to present their myths that way? I am pretty certain there will be Excellence Slips for any boy who does wish to give this (totally voluntary!) endeavour a go.

Tuesday morning saw a small group of musicians heading off to take part in Epsom College’s Prep Schools Strings’ Day. This annual event brings together children from many different Prep schools in the area to learn and perform a brand new and exciting repertoire of music. All string players in Years 3- 6 are welcome, regardless of the playing standard they have reached and it is always lovely to see absolute beginners being encouraged by those who have been playing for many years. This was our second year of attending the day and the selection of pieces that the boys and girls present were asked to attempt were both varied and challenging. Our boys rose to that challenge with great enthusiasm and threw themselves into the spirit of the day. They had a wonderful time, learning new skills and enjoying the feeling of being an important part of a large and talented group of youngsters. The importance of playing in any kind of ensemble cannot be underestimated. The chance to work with like-minded people and create wonderful music is a joyful thing! At the end of a busy day the parents arrived to be treated to a most accomplished performance of pieces by Sibelius, Vivaldi, Rossini, Bizet and Kander and Ebb. We will most definitely be making a return visit next year.

On Wednesday Year 3 departed for their exciting two-night residential trip to Hooke Court in Dorset. En route they stopped at Monkey World where, due to the sunny conditions there were plenty of curious primates out and about to gaze at, some of whom also gazed back as I understand it!  A walk up to Maiden Castle followed, before arrival at Hooke Court. The boys even managed to fit in some Roman pot making and writing activities before bed. Yesterday had a full on Roman theme to it, with cooking, marching in formation like Roman soldiers and some Roman games in evening. As I write the boys will be heading back to Hampton and I am very much looking forward to hearing them tell me what else they got up to.

A L.I.O.N. Award update for you now, in addition to the letter you received from Mr Darmon this week. Last term boys in Year 4 donated, wrapped and delivered Christmas gifts to children from disadvantaged backgrounds, the choir sang and raised money and you as parents offered very generous donations at the conclusion of our Carol Service. All of this was in support of the charity Family Action. We have heard from the charity and they were overwhelmed to receive a total donation of just over £720! They wanted me to pass on their most heartfelt thanks to you all.

Have a great half term break,

Tim Smith

Headmaster

 

Sports News

Within the blink of an eye we reach half term and we are more than half way through the rugby season. It’s been a great start with some tremendous progress made. However, next half term is set to be even busier, with numerous tournaments and festivals scheduled, so we certainly aren’t letting our foot off the gas.

This week has proved to be another which has posed some logistical problems, as we were once again unable to use Carlisle Park. Therefore, Monday saw us use Hatherop Park and we travelled to Twickenham RFC to host our home fixtures on Tuesday and Wednesday. I must say a big thank you to Mrs Hill who facilitated our use of the rugby club. It has been a great alternative and ultimately meant we did not have to cancel the fixtures.

On Tuesday all the boys in Year 4 played against Newland House School. It was a great set of fixtures and credit must go to the boys from Newland House, many of whom were playing their first ever full contact game. We won 3 out of the 4 games and it was a great way to finish off the half term for the U9s. They have had the most to learn and take on board out of all the age groups, with the introduction of tackling to their game and I would like to say a big well done to all the boys. Their attitude and ultimately their performance on the pitch is evidence of their focus and willingness to learn and progress. I am really looking forward to what the rest of the season has in store for them. I suspect it will be very successful and the Surrey Junior Rugby Festival is now firmly on their radar.

On Wednesday we had a full A-D fixture at U10s and an A-B fixture at U11s versus Surbiton. The U10s played at Twickenham RFC whilst the U11s travelled to Hinchley Wood. Surbiton only have a small Year 6 and so these U11 matches were a little one sided in our favour. However, the boys remained disciplined and humble in their victories. The Surbiton boys must also be applauded for the way in which they stuck at it and didn’t throw in the towel. At the match tea the Surbiton member of staff who refereed the B team game said a few words and expressed that it was the best rugby he had ever seen from an U11 team. The U10 boys were equally successful with four wins out of four and they too can be very proud of a tremendously successful half term.

I think I/we as staff can take it for granted how talented are boys are, as we see them every day, but comments like that remind me that we are blessed to have so many talented boys across the whole school. Having said that I am also aware that we will come across significantly stronger opposition in the festivals after half term. Therefore, there is plenty of work to be done if we are to compete with them. So the first few weeks after half term will be devoted to preparing for these upcoming challenges.

On the same theme of talent, our senior winter cricket nets started last week at Hampton School under the expert guise of Mr Harrison. I too attend these nets and we spent a long time chatting about how impressed we are with the standard on show. The bowling and fielding in particular was fantastic and if the boys can take the message that they received last night of hard work and dedication with them then I only see this talent improving further.

Mr Harrison referred many times to Keaton Jennings. For those of you that don’t know, he is one of England’s test match batsman, who is having a bad run of form and keeps getting out in the same fashion, by edging the ball behind to the slips. Mr Harrison was keen to stress that talk of Jennings being ‘rubbish’ was simply not true. He is in fact an extremely talented elite sportsman playing at the highest possible level. However, at the minute he keeps making a tiny error which is based around a subconscious reaction, made in a fraction of a second, as a very hard ball travels towards him at 90mph. The point being you can be one of the very best but a) you’ll still make mistakes and b) the only way you’ll overcome these mistakes is through hard work and practise. No one is immune and no one has a magic formula. Messi, Ronaldo, Farrell, Sexton, Root, Stokes, all blessed with tremendous talent, but ask those who know them best and it will be their hard work away from the cameras that sets them apart. If the boys can tap into this message who knows how many might be on our television screens in a few years from now.

Have a great half term.

Prep News

In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Dylan Martin (5Ch) For a wonderfully compelling and accomplished piece of descriptive writing based on a bombing during the Blitz. Luke Nunn and Shreyan Kottala (both 5Ch) For a fine demonstration of ambition and tenacity in the production of some exceptional creative writing based on the text of The Machine Gunners. Well done to those boys!

An EGGsellent assembly this week from Mrs Tinkler:

Year 3 had a fantastic time on their residential, here are some photos of their time at Hooke Court:

Pre-Prep News

How lovely to be able to report that four of our Year 2 boys, Toby Bradbury, Harry Cole, Harry Morris and Reuben Nicholson, took part in their first ever Informal Concert…we have feeling we shall be seeing more from them in the future.  They played their pieces on the piano beautifully. It is important to stress they have only been learning since September, so we are immensely proud of them – very well done, boys!

As you know ‘fear’ has been our assembly theme for the last six weeks and it has been explored from all sorts of angles. Mrs James visited on Monday and delivered a very exciting assembly about Vikings.  We pondered if there might have been some occasions when they too were fearful and discovered that in fact the Vikings set off originally in search of food, having experienced a number of disastrous harvests.  The name ‘Hampton’ might have Viking connections but even more exciting to learn was the fact that Mrs James has Viking ancestry in her blood!

House Cross Country has been rescheduled for Wednesday 27 February – apart from the date change all details remain the same.  The children must come to school dressed in their games kit, that is, white t-shirt, shorts and trainers, but they must also wear their tracksuit over the top of their kit, as it may be cold in the park!

We are thrilled to report that there has not been a single red card issued this half of term, so as you will imagine we had cause for celebration at our Golden Treat this afternoon – do ask you child if they enjoyed the treat?

World Book Day is rapidly approaching and takes place on Thursday 7 March – we are so looking forward to seeing the children’s costumes on the day! Please do remember that you child should bring in the book (named, of course) depicting their chosen character so that we can enjoy sharing the story in school.  There will be plenty of book related activities going on in school that day.

We would also like the children to design and produce a bookmark if possible.  They should bring their designs in to school on 7 March – but make sure it is named, or bring it in an envelope so we know the designer!

Some of the staff will be dressing up on that day as crayons, celebrating the book: The Day the Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffers and Drew Daywalt.  We are looking for other little crayons to join our pack – if you have not already decided on a costume…simply pick a colour!

Several certificates were awarded in assembly on Thursday.  The first to Rishi Schneider (Year 1) for achieving his yellow belt in Martial Arts and two swimming awards to brothers Reuben and Tommy Nicholson (Year 2 and Reception).  Reuben has achieved the Learn to Swim Stage 3 award and Tommy has completed Level 1.

This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Eddie White, who was chosen by Miss Goscomb for always being kind and helpful, including helping the younger children in Cookery Club this week and offering to help wash up.

and Stars of the Week to:

Year 2: Omar Suliman for doing some super problem solving in maths this week – well done!

Year 1: Arjun Dudhe for trying really hard to work at a quicker pace during lessons.  Keep it up!

Reception: Alexander Dale for fantastic reading and working hard all this half term.  Well done, Alex!

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

Phew, it has been Kindergarten’s final week in space and what a journey we have had! We revisited the planets in our solar system, talking about our favourites and why. We read ‘Toys in Space’ by Mini Grey, there was a lot of discussion about whether the toys that we leave lying around at school and home would end up in space. We also read ‘The Best Dressed Alien’ eBook about an alien who took on board the ideas of his friends to help him make the best dress. We then had the opportunity to complete a new matching game on the interactive whiteboard called ‘Counting in Space with Zid the Alien’.  How lovely for us that Jazz brought in his fantastic homemade planetarium complete with stars, planets, aliens and a very cosmic rocket that he made at home with his family. Well done, Jazz!

This week we have really focused our circle times on discussing the importance of being kind to our friends and being honest.

We will be looking at ‘The Signs of Spring’ after half term.

This week we have gone back in time to the Jurassic period in Reception! We have read information books about dinosaurs to learn some interesting facts about these incredible creatures.  We have also read stories about dinosaurs including the ‘Harry and his Bucketful of Dinosaurs’ series.  The boys wrote about their favourite part of the story and designed their own ferocious dinosaurs. They have also made some colourful dotty dinosaurs using printmaking techniques.  In mathematics, we have continued our focus on money, counting out pennies and using different combinations to pay for items in our dinosaur shop. The children had the opportunity to play shopkeeper, combining two prices and then giving the correct change to their customers.

We would like to say well done to all the boys for a wonderful start to the Spring Term – they have been very focused and engaged in their learning and we are delighted with their progress. Have a wonderful half term; we shall look forward to hearing all their exciting news and seeing the holiday snapshots on their return to school.

In Year 1, we have been reading ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon…’ stories by Mo Willems. We have talked about bossy sentences that start with a ‘bossy’ verb; the children were very good at coming up with their own! They also had a go at writing their own pigeon stories. Some of the titles included: ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon Eat Ice-Cream!’, ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon Teach Children!’ and ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon Fly an Aeroplane!’.

In maths, we have been looking at number bonds and number families, working out how we can use the same 3 numbers to make different number sentences such as: 3 + 2 = 5, 2 + 3 = 5, 5 – 2 = 3 and 5 – 3 = 2. It was impressive to see the children grasp this concept quickly.

Yesterday, we went on a material hunt around the school, finding objects made from different materials and recording what these were in a grid. We also talked about the importance of looking after property during our life skills session. The children shared how they would feel if someone damaged their favourite, most precious possession and we talked about how to respond in this situation.

After half term, we will be looking at poetry and, as requested by the children, writing letters to David Walliams, persuading him to write another ‘The World’s Worst Children’ book for us to read!

Year 2 have continued work on ‘Man on The Moon’ in English by writing descriptions of Bob using what we know about him. On Thursday, we went alien hunting and made posters asking people to watch out for various creatures that might be lurking around Pre-Prep. Today, we were very fortunate to zoom into space and meet Bob on the moon. He entertained us by telling us all about the moon. He was very surprised about the posters we made yesterday because he really does not think that aliens exist!

In maths, we have been adding and subtracting using multiples of ten, for example 56 + 20 = ___. We have also been solving puzzles involving numbers and today looked at square and cube numbers.

Science was another fun lesson as we looked at how materials can be changed. This involved carefully observing how ice melts as well as melting wax crayons and remoulding them. Miss Horton was very creative and helped us to make multi-coloured crayons in Lego brick shapes.

We unveiled our new ‘inspiring individual’ on Wednesday – Queen Elizabeth II! We had fun dressing up as kings and sitting on a throne, before learning about Elizabeth’s life. The children were very curious when finding out about her family tree and are keen to research their own family trees over half term if they have time.  We would love to see your family tree if you have time to complete one.

Wishing you all a fantastic half term break – fingers crossed for some more sunny days!