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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 20

This Week

Dear Parents,

Last Saturday evening seems like a long time ago now, but I was so thrilled to be able to attend the HPPPA Family Bingo Night in the James Hall at the Prep. It was a very enjoyable event; one or two of us present described it as unashamedly ‘old fashioned’ fun and there was, we agreed on this occasion, nothing wrong with that! There was certainly plenty of highly spirited, noisy merriment in the air (and no, I am not talking exclusively about the staff table here). I am hoping that the children present were suitably exhausted by the time they got home so that their parents could relax into a restful remaining Saturday night?

The actual Rugby World Cup itself stopped off at the Prep on its way to Japan this week. What an incredible and once in a life time opportunity it was to see the golden trophy in all its glory here at our school! The Webb Ellis Trophy (which is of course its official name) had been brought into school by Hampton Prep dad Mr Hill, Chief Commercial Officer at World Rugby, the organisation behind the Rugby World Cup. Mr Hill explained the history of the trophy to all of us in assembly. A great number of us already knew the apparent legend behind how the trophy got its name: it was named after schoolboy William Webb Ellis, who apparently invented rugby by picking up the ball during a game of football. Mr Hill also gave the pupils lots of interesting facts about this year’s Rugby World Cup which is being hosted by Japan. There has been some considerable speculation amongst the staff at least as to whose nation’s name will appear on it next…!

It was World Book Day yesterday of course and this event at this time of year is always great fun. The boys and staff threw themselves into the day with an excellent array of costumes and characters out in force. Mrs Campbell led the staff in a very amusing read of The day the crayons quit, our themed book for the day. The Year 6 boys turned up to their classrooms later on to learn that all their chairs had gone on strike and cleared off out of the room, as a result of how badly they felt the boys treated them. The persuasive writing the boys produced in an effort to lure their chairs back into active service is certainly very heartfelt, but cleverly tongue in cheek too, and therefore very funny to read!

Mrs James and her Year 6 class continued with the theme of commitment in their excellent assembly this morning. It was very heartening to hear how boys who are nearing the end of their Prep school careers had been working so hard to meet targets they had committed to set for themselves a year or so ago. It was then very inspiring to hear how the same boys have committed themselves to meeting new targets as they start to think more and more about the sort of boy they want to be once they step through the doors of their next school and begin their time in Year 7 in September.

There is a lot of rugby taking place during the course of today and tomorrow involving boys from the Prep in a wide range of teams playing in the KCS Surrey Junior Rugby Festival. I am looking forward to seeing some of them in action tomorrow morning. The Prep Schools’ Cross Country took place at Epsom College this afternoon and I am delighted to tell you that Marcus Solomon in Year 5 won! Very many congratulations to him.

Many thanks from me to the great number of you who, as I understand it, completed the parents’ questionnaire as part of our Regulatory Compliance Inspection that took place here this week. We will not receive our final ‘signed off’ inspection report to be released to you, and into the public domain, for some weeks yet. As soon as we do, I shall of course be forwarding it on to you.

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith


Sports Bulletin

I mentioned in last week’s bulletin that there was going to be a special event taking place this week. A few months back I was contacted by Mr Hill, father of Alistair Hill in Year 6, who is the Chief Commercial Officer for World Rugby. Mr Hill informed me that there was an opportunity to bring the William Webb Ellis Trophy into school before it headed off on its world tour in the lead up to the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year. Understandably, without hesitation I accepted the kind offer and Wednesday was the big day.

We had tried as best possible to keep this a secret from the pupils and so there was a stunned silence as I walked into the assembly hall carrying the coveted trophy and placed it on its plinth for all to see. Mr Hill then proceeded to give an excellent presentation on this year’s Rugby World Cup and some of the added quirks that will come with the tournament being held in Japan. After the assembly all the boys, in their classes, had their photo taken with the trophy.

For me it was a tremendous privilege and I hope for the boys it will be something they will never forget. Our assembly theme this half term is ‘Commitment’ and although we didn’t get too much time to touch on this on Wednesday morning, I don’t think there is any better example of the need to be committed to fulfil your goals, than seeing something like this. We can easily fall into the trap of seeing someone who is successful as being lucky, born with a god given talent for instance, but what we don’t see is there hard work that goes on behind the scenes. The commitment necessary and the inevitable sacrifices that are also made in order to be successful, in any walk of life, are huge and success is just a measurement of this commitment and sacrifice.

A huge thank you to Mr Hill for providing us with the opportunity and taking the time out of his busy schedule to come and speak to us. The trophy now heads off on its world tour and I look forward to seeing who eventually gets to lift it, without gloves on, in November.

On Monday we had a number of fixtures against Surbiton High with all the boys in Year 5 playing and two teams in Year 6. There was a really good spread of results at U10 with wins, losses and draws and a couple of tough games for the U11 B & C teams. Everything for the rest of the week has been geared towards this weekend and the Surrey Junior Rugby Festival. This is without doubt, the flagship rugby festival in our calendar and the boys taking part are very excited. Today is the U8 and the U9 festival and tomorrow morning is the senior tournament. In order to be successful the boys will need plenty of grit and determination. It is a long hard morning and so the more support we get the better. Therefore, if you are free, please come along to King’s Playing Fields in Wimbledon and cheer on the lads.

We are also taking 12 boys to the Epsom College Cross Country Championship this afternoon. This is a great event, and it is usually an exceptionally high standard. Many of the boys that are running this afternoon are also playing tomorrow morning, so there might be the need for a few ice baths tonight. Thankfully it is dry and I hope they can all give a good account of themselves and can be suitably proud and happy come the end of the race.

Good luck to all the boys that are involved in any of the events over the course of the weekend and I hope they can use our special guest on Wednesday as inspiration. I look forward to filling you in on all the results next week. If you are coming to watch the boy’s tomorrow, then don’t forget to set your alarms, the first game kicks off at 9am.

Have a great weekend.

Mr Darmon

Head of PE and Games



Prep News

In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Thomas McMonagle (5Ca) ‘Not all heros wear capes’ For saving the day on a number of occasions when we visited the Natural History Museum. Demonstrating his generous and empathetic spirit and representing our school so beautifully. Ethan Doyle and Henry Morgan (both 4S) For effectively integrating direct speech and narration to provide a vivid and rounded characterisation of a fictional character. James Nunn (3L) For beautiful manners, always smiling and waiting patiently when he comes to the School Office. Josh Rahardjo, William Dumbrell, Navraj Dhillon, James Nunn (all 3L); Thomas Mortimer, Eric Rainey and George Halberstadt (all 3W)  For an outstanding LION Award Creativity Portfolio. Well done to those boys!


Once again World Book Day was upon us on Thursday this week and staff and pupils alike really got into the spirit if things, here are just a few photos from the day:

Pre-Prep News

It has been a very busy and exciting week in Pre-Prep! The highlight was undoubtedly seeing the children in their amazing World Book Day costumes; it was clear that many of you had gone to great efforts – thank you so much for your time and support.  Over 100 countries celebrated yesterday and it was in fact the 22nd time that World Book Day has been celebrated around the globe.  The children enjoyed a range of book related activities in their classrooms but above all else spent plenty of time enjoying and talking about books, authors and illustrators.  Interestingly many of us share the same ‘all time favourites’!  Reception continued immersing themselves in books today with a visit to Hampton Library – you will hear more about their visit below.

If you son or daughter has not had time to make a bookmark, please don’t worry they will have until Monday to complete one.  Also, don’t forget the Travelling Book Fair opens on Monday 11 March – we look forward to seeing you there.

Mr Smith awarded several medals and certificates in yesterday’s assembly – our congratulations to Harry Sinnett (Year 2) and Arthur Band (Year 2) for playing in the Middlesex RFU County Festival and a Shark Springboard Swimmers award went to Daniel Fitzpatrick (Year 1).  Well done, boys!

This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Alfie Linehan (Year 2) for demonstrating consistently courteous behaviour.

and Stars of the Week to:

Year 2: Harry Sinnett for always being so kind and helpful – well done!

Year 1: Yuchen Liu for remembering his manners in the classroom and always having a cheerful smile.

Reception: Henry Nguyen for his beautiful neat and independent writing.  Henry wrote a super story about Super Cat.

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

We have enjoyed reading the story ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears’ in Kindergarten.  Firstly, we talked about the choices Goldilocks made – debating whether or not she have gone into the bears’ cottage without asking in the first place; one child suggested that next time the bears should lock their door! We understood why they were cross and related this to how sometimes we get cross and upset.  We discussed the fact that it is okay to feel these emotions but that we should tell an adult how we are feeling.  Together, we wrote a letter to the bears from Goldilocks saying how sorry she was for upsetting them.

Using puppets, story props and musical instruments, we retold the story as a group and decided that the drum probably made the same noise as Daddy Bears footsteps and that the castanets made the sound of Goldilocks going up the bears’ stairs!  We also made some yummy porridge and chose our own toppings. Our porridge was not too hot and not too lumpy – it was, in fact, ‘just right!’

We celebrated Shrove Tuesday by making pancakes, discussing why this day is special to some and why it is celebrated. As a group, we mixed the ingredients needed for pancake batter and then we got ‘flipping’. There was so much indecisiveness as we tried to choose between the mouth-watering toppings, which included, lemon, sugar, honey and golden syrup.

On Thursday, we had so much fun dressed up as our favourite book character. As we were dressed in our costumes, we had fun ‘playing’ our characters and later Year 2 visited to read to us their stories written in class.

Next week our topic is the fairy story ‘The Three Little Pigs’.

Reception enjoyed a lovely walk to Hampton library today. On the way there, we looked for signs of spring and noticed the buds appearing on the trees and the beautiful daffodils popping up everywhere.  We met Mickie the librarian who talked to us all about the library and what we can borrow from there. We were amazed to find out not only could we borrow lots of picture books at a time but we can also borrow non-fiction, audio books and DVDs! We had a look around the children’s library and chose books to share with our friends. Mickie then read us a story called ‘Otto the Book Bear’ – a charming story about a bear who lives in a book! The boys’ behaviour during this trip was outstanding. Comments from the librarian were made on how smart and polite the boys were. Well done, Reception.

We have focused lots of our learning on the Elmer books this week – we sequenced the story, made elephant masks and ordered elephants by size in mathematics. We loved all the amazing Book Day costumes and had a great day – walking down the catwalk to show our costumes, speaking about why we had picked that character, and also beginning to write our own Elmer stories.

This week Year 1 have been learning about information books in English. We have discussed the difference between fiction and non-fiction books and the children sorted book front covers into these groups. Last week, they had created their own imaginary machine and this week have written fact files about them. We also focused on using conjunctions such as ‘and’ and ‘because’ to extend our sentences, making them more exciting.

During our maths lessons, we have been focusing on time. We have practised reading and drawing the time to o’clock and half past. It’s great to see so many of the class wearing watches to school! We also spent some time solving time problems such as “It is 1 o’clock, so what will be the time in 2 hours?” Any practice on time at home would be extremely valuable.

This afternoon, Year 1 have had their first experience with coding in computing. They had 12 levels to complete that got progressively more challenging. The main focus was stacking instruction blocks together to make the spite move on the screen from one place to another. There was a real buzz in the classroom and the children absolutely loved it! We can’t wait for our computing lesson next week. The website we used was: – please feel free to check this out at home!

It was a very exciting week for Year 2 this week as on Thursday, as well as it being World Book Day, we also read our completed books based on Simon Bartram’s ‘Man on the Moon’ to Kindergarten! We very much enjoyed sharing our stories and hope they did too.

In maths, we have been learning all about data and how to record it using tally charts, frequency tables, bar charts and pictograms. We have had to remember to count very carefully when looking at groups of objects; this has made us really concentrate!

With great excitement, we found out who our new famous person is… Buzz Aldrin! Buzz was the second man to walk on the moon, after Neil Armstrong. We discussed how he was still incredibly brave and how he might have felt not being the first person. We also learned about the space race between Russia and America, finding out some interesting facts as we did, including that a fruit fly was the first animal sent into space!

Have a super weekend!

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster