Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 21

This Week

Dear Parents,

Mr Darmon writes in some detail in his Sports Bulletin today about the rugby festival that took place at KCS last weekend, as well as the fixtures in which boys competed this week. In the three weeks since we have been back at school since half term, the boys in Years 3 – 6 have enjoyed playing sport for their school in over 40 competitive fixtures against teams from other schools. There are plenty of fixtures remaining on the calendar too, due to be played before the end of term. I am really glad to note the great gusto and verve with which the boys have been throwing themselves into their rugby this half term alone. There has been much enjoyment for both players and spectators from all these matches, in so far as I can tell, alongside the all-important development of the boys’ technical skills and those equally critical personal qualities such as determination, grit and a sense of fair play. They have all shown tremendous commitment to their sport.

Commitment remains the theme for assemblies this half term and it was really exciting to have Captain Morgan, a pilot for BA (and father of Henry in Year 4!) visit us this week to talk to the boys on Wednesday morning. Captain Morgan explained some pretty exciting details to do with the physics of flight itself, as well as sharing some equally fascinating details of just exactly what he enjoys about his work, where he often travels to and just exactly what all pilots have to keep in their briefcases! It was certainly inspiring for us; importantly, Captain Morgan emphasised how vital it is to remain committed to thinking carefully and working hard whilst at school in order to have the best chance of making one’s dreams come true.

I enjoyed catching up with a small group of boys at lunch one day this week, following the House Poetry heats, to find out about the great range of poems boys from all Houses had chosen to learn and recite. I am looking forward to hearing some of them in the final next week. It was really great to hear a lot of boys play their instruments and see half a dozen of them perform their LAMDA pieces in the Pupils’ Informal Concert in the James Hall on Thursday afternoon too. Being able to stand up in front of friends and family and put oneself under the spotlight can be a pretty terrifying ordeal but it makes us all very proud here when we see the boys do this sort of thing so willingly.

Two unrelated matters from me regarding parking and traffic. There have been one or two events brought to the attention of the senior team here this week, which have evolved out of issues to do with parking close to the school. I understand that Mrs Hynes and Mrs McGuire, as Co-Chairs of the HPPPA are aiming to get in touch with you all about this under their own steam. Please note they do so with my full and unfettered support. Separately from that first matter now, may I kindly remind parents please to consider carefully the speed limits on the roads surrounding both the Pre-Prep and Prep? I have seen one or two parents driving to and from school at speeds that, in my pretty un-expert but interested view, looked a bit too fast to me given that there were Pre-Prep children being shepherded across Wensleydale Road by their parents at the time.

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith

Headmaster

Sports News

As promised it was a bumper week of sport. Last Friday afternoon the U8s and U9s were at the Surrey Junior Rugby Festival and team of 12 boys competed in the Epsom College Prep Schools Cross Country.

I’ll start with the Cross Country. This is our third year in attendance and the event seems to get bigger every year. There are 4 races in total and our boys were competing in the first one, which was for boys in Year 5 and Year 6. The race is nearly two miles in length and so it might come as no surprise that the Year 6 boys tend to dominate, whilst the Year 5 boys have to wait 12 months for their moment in the sun. However, this year things were a little different and it was very much the turn of a Year 5 boy, who just so happened to attend Hampton Prep.

That boy was Marcus Solomon. When I say Marcus won the race, it in no way does him justice. He was so far ahead of the rest of the pack that he was genuinely chasing down the sixth former in the final straight, who had been employed to act as the hare and show the boys the way. It was a phenomenal performance from the young man and I, along with the rest of the boys, were immensely proud to be on the same team as him. The team came fifth in the final standings but the day belonged to Marcus and I look forward to seeing if he can catch that sixth former next year.

On the same afternoon the junior half of the Surrey Junior Rugby Festival was taking place. For many of these young boys this would have been their first experience of a large festival such as this and they could be forgiven for feeling a tad daunted. However, there appeared to be no such nerves and both teams put in a good shift and displayed some great rugby, with a mix of victories and losses. However, ultimately they had fun and did themselves justice.

The same could be said on the Saturday morning, when it was the seniors turn, with both the U10s and U11s putting out strong teams that led us all to have high hopes for plenty of success. The U10 boys have had a great season so far and they battled hard all morning. Their fortunes were made more difficult by a couple of injuries to key players, so it was to their credit that they won a number of their matches against some big schools and tough opposition. After a couple of wins, a loss and a draw then were drawn against Dulwich College Juniors for their final game and showed a tremendous amount of grit and determination to win that final match and were able to look back on a solid morning’s work. These boys have come a long way this season under the expert and excellent eye of Mr Salt and I look forward to working with them next year.

The U11s had come into the festival a little ‘undercooked’ with very few, if any, fixtures that had really tested them up to that point. So I have to say I was a little nervous before the first game. This wasn’t helped by Mr McClusky announcing when we arrived, that he was sure us and Kings would be the two best teams in the tournament.

However, I have always been a worrier and generally for little reason and today was no different, as the boys came out all guns blazing in the first game against Shrewsbury House, winning 4-0. It was the manner of the victory that pleased me, Shrewsbury House were not a bad team but our boys put into practice everything we had been doing in training and didn’t give the opposition chance to play. We did the same in the next game against Dulwich College Juniors, which left us with the two toughest teams left to play in the group, Aldro and Donhead. Both teams provided far greater resistance but both were suffocated in the same manner as the first two teams, by our tremendous work rate in defence and excellent work at the breakdown. Rajvir Dhillon was imperious over the ball and as a consequence was awarded man of the tournament. This meant we were undefeated in the group.

It also meant that Mr McClusky was right and we were the best two teams at the festival and so we were drawn against each other in the final game. For us it turned out to be a game too far. Kings were by far the better team and deserved to win, which resulted in some tears and glum faces come the final whistle. However, the message I was keen to get across, was that there is no shame losing to someone who is better than you, as long as you can hand on heart, say you gave your all, which without doubt every boy in that team was able to do.

It was then back to school on Monday and another week of fixtures. Unfortunately storm Gareth put pay to our fixtures against Staines Prep on Tuesday but we were able to play our games against St. Piran’s on Wednesday. For the U11s there was a win for the A team and a couple of narrow losses for the Bs and Cs and for the U10s there were wins for the Cs and Ds and a loss for the A and B team.

Next week sees fixtures for the U10s and U11s against St. Benedict’s and the U9s put four teams out against The Mall, before the U11 A team make their debut in the Rosslyn Park 7s. This is a tournament that I played in as a school boy and so I am very excited for the boys to experience and be part of, what is the largest school boy rugby festival in the world.

This afternoon we also have U8 and U9 fixtures against St. George’s Windsor, the results of which I will tell you about next weekend.

Have a great weekend.

Prep News

In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Ethan Doyle, Woody Griffith, Aarav Mehta, Joseph Timba (all 4S) For well written accounts of their time at sea in voyages during the 1500’s; Ian Chen, Dominic Crook, Nico Hermann Sosa, Benjamin Jago and Josh Rahardjo (all 3L) For World Book Day postcard writing in the style of a crayon.

This week we had a visit from our annual Travelling Book Fair and this year we raised £892.50 in total which gives us a handsome sum of £505.50 to spend on books for our school!

It’s Red Nose Day today and some of our Year 6 boys took it upon themselves to go about selling red noses to both Pre-Prep and Prep pupils, here are some of the boys at Prep having fun showing theirs off! These efforts raised a fantastic total of £275.38 which we have been told is the equivalent of approximately 425 malaria vaccines – well done!

Pre-Prep News

Following on from the fun of World Book Day last week, we have come across several events that you may be interested in (all with a book related theme).  For Dr Seuss fans out there, ‘The Cat in the Hat’ is being performed at the Rose Theatre, Kingston from 10 until 21 April; it comes with a recommendation for ages 4+.  Secondly, do take a look at the website of the Royal Academy, as several well-known authors and illustrators are involved in the Festival of Ideas during May.  For example, the children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson, novelist Michael Rosen, illustrator Posy Simmonds and children’s author Lauren Child with her illustrator David Mackinstosh all feature in the exciting programme.  We really like the look of the Family Illustrator workshop on 5 May – if anyone goes along, we would dearly love to hear all about it.

Our thanks to everyone who supported the Travelling Book Fair this week, we will be in a position to let you know the grand total raised in next week’s bulletin, but also what this equates to in terms of the book commission for our school library – a heartfelt thanks to you all for your generous support.

It was very exciting to see two Year 2 boys taking part in the Informal Concert on Thursday. Many congratulations to Finn Timba and Harry Sinnett, what amazing performances from both!  As mentioned in a previous edition of the bulletin, our boys have only recently taken up the piano and we are so impressed that they are already performing in front of a large audience.

We are looking forward to hearing poems recited by Year 2 next week. On Friday 22 March poems will be recited in class ahead of the final that will occur in assembly on Thursday 28 March. Mr Smith and Mrs Campbell will be on hand to judge the overall winners.  This weekend is the perfect time to polish performances.

How exciting for us to meet two of the School’s Junior Travel Ambassadors (formerly known as JSOs) from Prep at Monday’s assembly.  Monty James and Omer Olcer visited to tell us all about their role but also unveiled their latest poster competition.  The JTAs are calling upon the school community to get involved in designing posters to promote clean and safe methods of transport to and from school and suggested we might like to think of alternatives to cars –   perhaps considering different routes for example via bus, park and train.  This is all part of London Borough of Richmond’s initiative to cut down on noxious emissions and reduce idling within the local area, so do get involved.  Posters must be handed in by Monday 25 March – if your child gives their poster to their Class Teacher here at Pre-Prep, we will ensure that it is safely delivered to Prep.

Many congratulations to Wilf Nercessian (Year 1), who last weekend instigated a plan to raise some money for Comic Relief by encouraging his extended family to sponsor him in doing a sponsored run of laps around Carlisle Park. Wilf managed 3 full laps and raised £50 to donate to Comic Relief this year.  He did this with his sister and she also raised £50.  Very well done – a sterling effort both!

This term, the Pre-Prep School Council will be holding a ‘pyjama day’ to raise money for the charity Mind. The date for this is Tuesday 2 April; the School Council will be talking about this more in an assembly in the coming weeks and will be making posters to advertise the event so do keep your eyes peeled!

Thursday’s assembly saw awards going to the following children: Alfie Seward (Reception) received his Seal swimming badge for achieving 10m on his back, Theo Constanti (Reception) gained Player of the Week at his rugby club and Finn Timba (Year 2) received a medal for taking part in a football camp over half term.  Well done, boys!

The Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Arthur Hanna (Year 1) for always being a good friend to others, in both the classroom and playground.

 

and Stars of the Week to:

Year 2: Finn Timba for trying really hard to improve his handwriting and for writing some lovely descriptive sentences about the seaside.  Well done!

Year 1: Robert Wijnand for making excellent progress with his handwriting.  Keep it up!

Reception: Ayman Suliman for his fabulous independent writing in his book ‘Elmer’ and the rainbow.  Well done!

 

Don’t forget Late Stay will be at Prep on Thursday 21 March to accommodate Parents’ Meetings here on that day.  Please phone the School Office for your appointment if you haven’t done so already.

Before we wish you a wonderful weekend, here’s what we’ve been up to in class …

Kindergarten have enjoyed reading lots of different versions of the famous fairy story  ‘The Three Little Pigs’, noticing immediately that the big bad wolf was not following the golden rules – he was neither kind nor gentle! We gathered the same materials that the little pigs used to build their houses. First, we built a house using straw and, using an electric fan, symbolised the wolf’s huffing and puffing. The fan, of course, blew the house made of straw straight down. Next, we used sticks and although they were harder than the straw, the fan still blew them down. We then each held and looked at what a real brick felt like and thought that the third little pig had the right idea to use bricks in his design. We decided to use foam bricks from the playground to build the final house featured in the story. We placed the little pig in the centre and held our breaths whilst we turned the fans on… hooray, the house of bricks stayed firm! We also made our own models of pigs using salt dough – they are taking rather a long time to dry, but once they have, we are going to paint them.

We continued our maths topic on measuring. This week, we have been using unifix bricks to measure how long and how tall different objects, pictures and toys are.

Our topic next week is The Three Billy Goats Gruff and the children are more than welcome to bring in any books or objects related to this theme.

 

We continued developing as authors this week in Reception and were busy writing our second novels! This week’s book was based around the character Elmer – who in our stories got up to some incredible things; skiing, flying and getting lost in the forest, amongst other adventures. The boys worked hard to make the middle parts of their stories exciting, interesting or surprising, and luckily all stories ended happily! We also talked about speech bubbles and on each page the boys thought about what the characters might be saying. Some boys began to use punctuation like exclamation and question marks. Next week, we plan to read our books to the Year 2 class. We were pleased that when Mr Smith came to our class on Wednesday to read us a story, that he commented on the boys’ Elmer front covers and he read a few of the titles.

In mathematics, we have been working on number bonds to 5, 10 and to 20.  We looked at the numbers as a whole and how these could be broken down into two parts. We then practised recording these as number sentences, for example 5 + 5 = 10, 7 + 3 = 10, 2 + 8 = 10. We have been busy creating Kandinsky style painted circles and some 3D collage crayons.

Next week, we look forward to looking at signs of Spring.

 

Year 1 have enjoyed exploring poems this week and yesterday performed part of a poem to the class, using actions too. The poem was about the five senses and we spent some time thinking about all the different things we feel, see, hear, taste and smell. We will continue this theme into next week and have a go at writing our own poems!

In maths, the children have been learning about quarters of shapes and revising one more and one less of given numbers. They thoroughly enjoyed playing games of one more/one less bingo and keep asking to play more! Next week, we will be exploring capacity by measuring liquids and seeing how many teaspoons it takes to fill different measuring vessels.

We have been discussing trees in science and have learnt the difference between deciduous and evergreens trees. The children produced beautiful pictures of trees during their humanities lesson too, focusing on the seasonal changes deciduous trees go through.

It has been brilliant to see the number of children really engaged by our new computing topic of coding and I have loved seeing the certificates of those children who continued their classroom work at home, completing all levels!

 

Year 2 have been busy describing the seaside in English this week! We have learned what alliteration, a simile and personification are and have been using these to write poems based around the theme of summer holidays.

In maths, we have been revising our times tables and looking at times tables trios to work out the division facts that go with the different multiplication facts. Today, we used our knowledge to solve some quite tricky word problems.

In science, we did an investigation to see whether a car went faster down a ramp if we increased the ramp’s height. We spoke about keeping a fair test – we kept everything the same in our experiments apart from the height of the ramp. Next week, we will be investigating friction.

We learned more about the space race in topic and had some interesting discussions about whether it was ethical to send animals into space before humans. We then designed our own space rockets!

Last week, the class filled their marble jar and were rewarded on Wednesday by having some chocolate fudge cakes with skittles hidden inside. What a treat!