Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 22

This Week

Dear Parents,

We have had a terrifically busy time at school over the last five days – it has been (and I believe the official term is) a right stonker of a week!

On Monday, in English lessons in the Prep, we kicked off with our own in-house ‘Shakespeare Week’. The boys have been reading a variety of Shakespeare’s texts, with a particular focus on Macbeth. They have explored the Bard’s words in full unexpurgated form on some occasions, and suitably inspired, have been responding to Shakespeare’s oeuvre in all sorts of different ways. I have been lucky enough to read a lot of their imaginative musings. I was particularly impressed with one Year 6 boy’s very cleverly set out representation of how he thought Lady Macbeth would communicate her feelings towards Macbeth if they were both on Twitter!

On Wednesday our four Gap Year Teaching Assistants (GYTAs) completely hijacked our assembly slot and, sticking to our theme of ‘commitment’, they explained to us all how they had tried to achieve their best across a number of domains in their young adult lives to date.

Miss Berry left us in no doubt about how tough one has to be to get the most out of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, which of course a great number of boys will be able to take part in once they get to senior school. Miss Barton explained how disappointed she had been with herself at one point in her mid-teens, in terms of her academic achievements at school, so she made a commitment to try even harder in the 6th Form with exceptional outcomes at A Level under her belt now as a consequence. Mr Andrae explained the details of the double life he leads; by day he is a mild mannered GYTA here but after school he and his IT skills are ‘on call’ as he has committed to volunteering for ‘Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team’, a charity based in the UK that provides mapping and aerial surveying data to the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières 24 hours a day, in order to help them carry out their work in the world’s disaster zones. He is in fact in charge of a team of 30 such volunteers and was providing data to rescue missions on the ground assisting with the aftermath of the flooding disaster in Mozambique at the weekend. Miss Egan shared her love for and commitment to Irish dancing. She had an incredibly moving story to tell, explaining how she had committed to her dream and made it to the Irish Dancing World Championships, only to be denied the chance of performing due to a last minute injury. This has not put her off and in fact she was able to demonstrate some of her Irish dancing prowess for us in the James Hall at the end of the assembly, ably assisted by members of staff and some boys. It was an incredible performance! Our four GYTAs are such an impressive and inspiring bunch and I am greatly reassured about the future of humanity if they and their ilk are aiming to be in charge (whilst I sit and dribble somewhere!) in years to come. We are so lucky to have these enthusiastic, charming and talented young adults in our midst; they are such wonderful role models for the boys.

Wednesday afternoon arrived with much excited anticipation for the boys who were due to travel to Wembley Arena for the ‘Voice in a Million’ concert extravaganza. Yet again this year, it proved to be a resounding success for all those who took part. It is a late night for boys and staff but definitely worth it, as they are able to join a huge massed choir and sing in front of a huge crowd of literally hundreds of spectators.

On Thursday Mr Darmon took some keen rugby players to the Rosslyn Park Rugby Festival, an important local rugby derby that we have not played in before. It was a great day of some pretty competitive sport for the boys, and Mr Darmon writes more fully about this in his Sports Bulletin via the tab above.

By mid-morning today two further excellent events had taken place. Mr Salt and the boys from 4S opened up their ‘Commitment Emporium’ in assembly and offered up various exciting endeavours for all of us to consider committing to. They very cleverly established the link in all our minds between what it takes to commit to something and the sacrifices we might have to make in order to do so. Then, in a pretty excellent impression of Piccadilly Circus, parents of boys in 4S filed out of the James Hall only to be replaced straight away by the large crowd of parents who had come to hear the boys perform in the House Poetry Final that occurred immediately afterwards.

I cannot think of a better way to begin a Friday than by sitting and listening to some wonderful boys recite some excellent poems, all of them varied in terms of tone and content. Ms James and Mr Hill, two colleagues from Hampton School, very kindly gave up their time to come and judge the event. Congratulations to all winners and runners-up in each of the Year group sections and special congratulations to Ben Rowe who was overall winner and Rocco Freedman who was overall runner-up.

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith

Headmaster

 

Sports News

It has been another tough week on the rugby field, with all age groups in action in the last seven days. It would appear the long and arduous season is starting to take its toll, as we have a number of walking wounded in Year 5 and 6 but their is no less enthusiasm and dedication and the boys continue to impress.

Last Friday we put six teams out across Year 3 and 4 against St. George’s Windsor. The U9 boys went very well with the B & C team recording impressive wins and the A team coming up just short against a strong St. George’s outfit. There has been great development amongst this year group over the course of the season and with the B and C team playing so well, it led to some selection headaches for Mr Henderson before the U9s next fixture. This took place on Tuesday, against The Mall.

I sat down with Mr Henderson the day before and we discussed what changes we thought should be made. Specifically, there were a number of boys who moved up from the C team to the B team for this game, based on their performance against SGW. It is often said to me by parents and pupils that once the teams are picked at the start of the season, in their mind, they don’t change. However, these conversations happen on a weekly basis and there is plenty of scope for boys to move up if they perform well enough. I believe the movement between teams in Year 4 this rugby season is a prime example.

The boys certainly went on to reward our faith in them with the A, B and C teams winning and the D team putting in a good performance but unfortunately losing narrowly. This was the U9s last fixture of what has been a really enjoyable season. I have spoken before about the difficulties faced with learning how to tackle and the necessary levels of bravery to start and keeping working at something, that essentially is counter-intuitive. However, these boys have really impressed me and made me proud with their approach and I can’t wait to see how they go next year.

The U8 boys played a slightly different format against St. George’s, as we played touch as opposed to tag. This was at the request of the opposition and it something they have been doing all season as they believe in develops better habits in the boys in preparation for learning contact at U9 level. The theory is that it gets the boys into better body positions when defending and generally makes the game more enjoyable to both play and watch. The feedback from the games staff involved was certainly positive and it is definitely something we are going to discuss before next season.

The U8s boys have one more fixture next week against Claremont and then they too will embark on the next step towards full contact and all the fun that brings. They have had a great season learning, what for most, is a bunch of completely new skills and I hope they have all developed the love for the sport that I did at that age. I’m not naive enough to think that every boy has, but nonetheless I hope they all had fun this season and I look forward to teaching them how to tackle next season. You never know, for those that aren’t so keen right now, tackling might just be what they are looking for.

On Monday the U11 and U10 A & B teams played against St. Benedict’s. This is always a tough fixture. St. Benedict’s are a large school that have a long rugby history and so they are always well drilled and it proved to be the case. The U11 A team had a fierce battle and eventually ran out 7-5 winners, but rarely have I seen a school boy game at this level, be so physical and I was really proud of the boys and the way in which they turned things around after a dodgy patch either side of half time. The B team too were victorious and they finally seemed to hit their straps and played some great rugby to record a much needed victory. One which they deserve after all their hard work in training.

The U10 As found life a little more tough and they lost their game, but with many injuries to contend with, they put up a good fight and can be proud of the performance. I find games like this a good lesson for the boys. Rugby can be a pretty cruel sport when you don’t have all your resources at your disposal and at times you just need to grit your teeth and accept it’s a going to be a tough afternoon. The key is never to give up and the boys fought to the end on Monday. The B team fared better and won their match and so, as with the Year 3 boys, I look forward to taking on these boys next year, as clearly there will be some strong competition for places.

The final action this week came when the U11 A team boys took part in the Rosslyn Park Sevens. This famous and prestigious event has been running since 1939 and involves more than 9,000 boys. The addition of a U11 festival happened only a few years ago and it is a great introduction to the boys, who I am sure will visit many more times with their senior schools over the coming years. I certainly have very happy memories of attending when I was a school boy and who knows, maybe one day one of these boys may even experience the extremely rare feat of winning the tournament. If yesterday was anything to go buy some of them certainly have a chance and as a squad, they put in a tremendous day’s work. The boys played 5 games, winning three, drawing one and losing their fifth and final match by one try, in a game that clearly could have gone either way. This meant we came second in our league overall and aside from our final game next Wednesday it was a great way to finish off the season.

Once again I was filled with pride as I watched the maturity of these boys and the tremendous skill and team work they possess and display. It has been one of my most enjoyable seasons and I am really looking forward to their final game and what I hope will be a great celebration of their commitment and dedication.

This is next Wednesday against a mixture of St. Piran’s and Willington and then our final fixture of the season is the U8 fixture against Claremont next Friday. After that, there is just the small matter of House Rugby!

Have a great weekend.

Nick Darmon

Head of PE and Games

Prep News

In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Dominic Crook (3L) Theo Barrett and Aron Drishti (both 3W); Lucas Band and Bertie Bishop (both 4S); Richard Baker and Jamie Searancke (both 5Ca); Teddy Kirby and George Murphy (both 5Ch) For completing another voyage of the Reach for the Stars Programme demonstrating consistent effort and progress in reading and spelling! Ollie Nicholls (4S) For epitomising community spirit and hard work by, not once, but twice tidying up things left over across the lunch hall and clearing the floor. Daniel Frith (6J) For showing commitment in Maths lessons throughout years 5 & 6 demonstrated in your confident presentations, outstanding reasoning and top performance. Jonathan Morrison (6J) For commitment in maths lessons throughout years 5 & 6 which has resulted in an impressive level of ability to take initiative, demonstrating impressive reasoning skills beyond expectations in regards to independent prep. Well done to all those boys!

 

On Wednesday Miss Bee took a group of boys from our choir to the Voice in a Million concert at Wembley Arena. First staged in 2010, VIAM 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of this amazing annual event. 10,000 schoolchildren, joined by some of the UK’s most talented young singers, performed in what was billed as ‘the world’s most spectacular school concert.’ Here are some photos from the evening:

 

 

Here are some photos from our House Poetry Final that took place in the James Hall at Prep this morning. Well done to all the boys that took part:

 

 

During Easter 2019, Chris Harrison will be running a cricket coaching courses ideal for young cricketers to prepare for the upcoming season. Each session will include skill drills for batting, bowling and fielding as well as net and match play practice. Please click here for more information on how to book.

 

Pre-Prep News

It’s hard to believe that only seven and a half days of term remain; the Spring Term seems to have flown by but the children have been extremely busy and purposeful throughout.  As the end of term approaches, we are looking forward to the following events:

  • Open Classrooms on Monday 1 April – please note the following timings, morning Kindergarten at 11.30am and Reception, Years 1 and 2, plus afternoon Kindergarten at 3.00pm;
  • Pre-Prep School Council’s Pyjama Day on Tuesday 2 April, in support of the charity Mind;
  • the Easter Bonnet Parade on Wednesday 3 April – we are looking forward to seeing your designs!;
  • and, finally, our traditional Easter Egg Hunt is also on the last morning of term.

Don’t forget collection on the last day of term is at 11.45am!

 

We promised last week to let you know the total book fair takings and are thrilled to announce the grand total is £477.30. In turn, we have been rewarded with £256.38 worth of book commission.  As noted last week, this is all thanks to you – once again, we’ve been wowed by your generous support and lots of lovely new books will soon be appearing in our library.

During the first weekend of the Easter break, the Theatre of Widdershins will be performing their new show for 2019, ‘Snow White Red Rose Brown Bear’ – this takes place in The Hammond Theatre, Hampton School on the 6 April.   A 10% discount code is offered for all Hampton Pre-Prep bookings, using the code: HSEASTER.  Please note the production is for 4+ years, therefore, particularly suitable for Reception and Year 1 – do watch out for the flyers.

Mr Smith awarded Arjun Dudhe (Year 1) with his chess certificate for taking part in a tournament on Sunday – very well done, Arjun!

This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Finlay Meehan (Reception) for his impeccable manners and always being so helpful in the classroom.

and Stars of the Week to:

Year 2: Toby Bradbury for making excellent observations during science this week when investigating friction.

Year 1: William Lewin-Smith for making fantastic progress with his reading – keep up the great work!

Reception: Noah Regis for a wonderful piece of writing all about his mummy, using finger spaces and full stops.

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

Kindergarten have focused on the traditional tale, ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’ this week.  Having read many versions, we noticed that whilst characters stayed the same, the trolls all looked very different in each of one. We discussed how stories have a setting, and a clear beginning, middle and end, and identified these within the story. Using the large outdoor equipment, we made a huge bridge and had fun using the goat puppets to act out the story with friends. So engrossed were we in this tale, we took every opportunity to independently act out the storyline using our puppet theatre and puppets, as well as our own creations – masks and stick puppets.

Art and craft activities similarly followed the theme and we painted goats of different sizes and colours for a class display.  We used unifix and duplo as a means of measuring various items found within the classroom and have built many bridges during the week – we have seen some very impressive structures!

We have also been learning how to use the computer mouse to create computer generated paintings using the ‘2 Paint’ program – these have been printed out for you to enjoy at home.

Our topic next week is Easter.

This week in Reception we have loved noticing the change in seasons and observing the first signs of spring. Following our walk to the library last week, the children have been so interested in spotting the new spring flowers and the blossom on the trees.  We looked closely at a daffodil and talked about the parts of a flower. We learnt how to label a drawing and used a ruler to carefully label each part. We also enjoyed reading Cicely Mary Parker’s Flower Fairy poems and thinking about the different flowers we have in our gardens and in our parks at this time of year.

The highlight of the week was taking our Elmer stories up to Year 2 to share them with the boys there. They were all so impressed with the way Reception had used speech bubbles in their work, and the way the stories had been structured. They were delighted that each book had a happy ending!  In mathematics, we have continued learning about number bonds to 10 and to 20. The boys had to feed Rory the Robot two numbers that totalled the number on his tummy. He was a very hungry robot!  We have also completed some Easter addition challenges … we are all starting to get very ‘egg-cited’ about Easter!

This week Year 1 have been learning about capacity in maths.  We have been discussing if containers are full, half full, a quarter full or empty. Today the children made predictions about whether or not containers would hold more than, less than or the same as 1 litre. They then carefully poured the water into the containers themselves to reveal the results! Next week, we will spend time consolidating learning from the last term and we will be practising our arithmetic skills.

In English, we have continued to think about poetry and have used our senses to do this. Yesterday, the children worked in small groups to write about things they may feel, hear, see, taste and smell in different locations such as a park, beach, soft play area and a jungle. The boys came up with some beautiful phrases such as “I can hear the rushing water”. Next week, we will continue our theme of poetry by reading some humorous poems and writing our own.

Our afternoons have been busy as normal with lots of different activities going on. In science, we learnt about the life cycle of the apple tree and in topic we were learning about different climate zones around the world. Today the children have enjoyed learning about the Indian festival ‘Holi’, and have created some wonderful, brightly coloured images in computing!

Alice the Alien visited Year 2’s English lessons this week. She is a little bit naughty and has been stealing various household items, but whatever for?! The children had to describe everyday items, such as a sponge or a spoon or a bowl, before deciding what use Alice might have for it. There were some imaginative ideas – for example, a plate being used as a shield or a straw being used as a snorkel.

We have been focusing on fractions in maths, in particular, halves, quarters and thirds. Our knowledge of the times tables has really helped us when doing this! Today, we had ‘Book Free Friday’ where we made an origami flower and then had to work out what fraction each part of the flower was worth.

To much excitement, we revealed our last inspiring individual, only to discover that there was no one behind the question mark! This was because for the last person, the children are choosing someone that they find inspiring to research independently. This week, the boys have begun their research; next week they will make a fact file about their person. There are a huge range of people ranging from Justin Bieber to Galileo and Ghandi.

This afternoon, we had our House Poetry readings. Well done to all of the children for learning a poem and performing so beautifully; we look forward to the final next Thursday!

Have a super weekend.