Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 27
There has been more excellent and very thought-provoking stimulus from colleagues here over the last week or so, as Miss Wakeling, Mr Hole and Mrs Sunderland all provided their insights and views on how important it is to think of others’ feelings, as well as remain mindful of one’s own, in their assemblies on the theme of ‘empathy’.
In essence, Miss Wakeling and Mr Hole reminded us all that at the end of the day we are simply animals, but there are some interesting similarities between our behaviours and those of all inhabitants of the animal kingdom. They both emphasised, in different ways however, that how we feel about ourselves and how we seek to respond to the feelings of others may be one of the features that distinguishes us from the impulsive, genuinely ‘animalistic’ behaviours of our fellow creatures with whom we share space on this planet.
Mrs Sunderland took this one step further, with a bit of genetic biology (by way of H.G. Wells!) on Wednesday morning. She established the link in all our minds between doing something kind for others, without necessarily wondering in advance how that might make us feel; in other words, being altruistic. She explained that altruism is connected to our sense of courage and bravery and being altruistic is something we can all learn, and hopefully embed as a critically important personal habit as our lives move forward.
The boys in 4S echoed this in their assembly this morning, as they very bravely read excerpts aloud to us from either novels they loved or in fact their own really excellent stories. It was so great to hear how what they were reading or writing made them feel.
You will shortly be hearing from Miss Bee, outlining the music and LAMDA lessons we will be offering to all boys in the Prep next term. It has been such a joy for us here to see how Miss Bee has really driven the development of the music the boys enjoy performing. We hosted our last Pupils’ Informal Concert for the year on Tuesday. Next half term our musical extravaganza, the Hampton Prep Proms and Picnic, takes place in the theatre and on the lawns at Hampton School. This is another chance for us to see how all that practice and dedication to learning an instrument really pays off…and yes, there will be another ‘Best Decorated Hat’ competition for parents. The Proms will have an international theme this year so do let your imaginations take flight to all four corners of the globe and consider how you might decorate (and wear!) a hat, accordingly.
We are hugely fortunate to have former Prep parent, Ms Lucy Moorby, teaching the boys speech and drama and preparing them for their LAMDA exams. I was absolutely astonished this week to learn that over the course of this half term 30 boys have sat LAMDA examinations, in a variety of performance styles. It gives me great pleasure to tell you now that all 30 boys passed, what is more all of them were awarded the grade of ‘pass with distinction’. This is another Hampton Prep first and we are all very proud of them.
Mrs Tinkler wrote to invite you all to the launch of our latest version of the Pastoral Review on Tuesday evening next week. Mrs Tinkler and her team of helpers have been working very hard all year to pull together a fantastic report, which contains significant recommendations that will shape the development of our approach to the pastoral care of your children for the next three years. Do please come along, if you can, on Tuesday evening to hear a little more in person about the changes we will be implementing from September and what we are aiming to achieve overall from this important review.
Mindfulness lessons play an important part of our approach to pastoral care here. You may be interested to read more about what we do, as represented in the upcoming edition of the journal of the Chartered College of Teaching, where Hampton Prep is referenced. Please click here for the link.
Have a great weekend,
So finally it has felt a little more like summer and in turn much more like the cricket season. There have been numerous fixtures over the past week, most of which were played in glorious sunshine and our results have been just as positive as the weather. Last Friday the U9s played against Twickenham Prep, with two wins from two. On Monday the U10s travelled to St. Benedict’s, where once again it was two from two. and on Wednesday both the U11s and U10s carried out clean sweeps, once again over Twickenham Prep. The U8s found things a little tougher against Staines Prep but they are progressing well and showing much improvement in comparison to the first session of the season.
Winning never has and never will be my primary aim. As I have mentioned before, getting as many children playing as possible and seeing boys with a big smile on their face is my goal, which I think we are doing pretty well. However, we also spend a lot of time and energy preparing the boys in the best possible way. We pride ourselves on ensuring all the boys receive good quality coaching in all aspects of every sport. If I am convinced that the boys have received that, then I couldn’t care less if we win or lose. However, weeks such as this are just another indication that we are doing the right things by the boys in terms of coaching. Therefore, I would like to extend a big thank you to all the members of the Games department, who are clearly doing some great work with your boys.
With the Year 6 residential in just two weeks, my mind is particularly focused on how beneficial it is to operate outside of your comfort zone every once in a while. There are many activities that we take part in on this trip, that could cause anyone to become anxious. I had a chat with Year 6 last week and we discussed this. The boys openly discussed what was making them worried and so indirectly were already operating in a way that they may not have felt comfortable with. Heights, swimming, diving, open water to name but a few. However, the message from me was that they should focus, not on what is making them worried, but the sense of accomplishment and euphoria they will feel after they have attempted and succeeded in such a task.
This doesn’t stop when we grow up, we may no longer be abseiling or coasteering but it may be more focused on our career and that looming interview or even applying in the first place. However, I am convinced that my childhood, which was very much focused on taking risks and doing stuff I didn’t really fancy, has played a huge part in me being able to confront these anxious situations head on and crack on regardless. This doesn’t mean I am no longer anxious about scary stuff, in fact far from it. I was a very nervous child and to some extent am still a pretty nervous adult. However, I refuse to let this anxiety stop me from doing things. I’d always had a dream to travel around the world when I was at University. In my 20s, after working as a teacher for a few years, I came to the realisation that the way to achieve this goal of mine was to go by myself. Not something I relished, in fact far from it, I was petrified and many times thought about cancelling my plans and just carrying on with what I was doing. It was the saying ‘you regret the things you don’t do, far more than the things you do’ that made me push on and I had the best year of my life.
This is going to be our mantra when we go to Wales. However, I think it is a pretty strong message that we should be conveying on a regular basis in school and at home, if we are to produce resilient and well-rounded young men. It is certainly a message that the games department stand by and I hope the work we do with your boys is helping them towards one day achieving their goals.
Have a great weekend.
In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Hari Parthipun and Archie Skinner (Both 3L) For excellent independent prep work using fractions to create a fraction feast! Alfie Keller and Theo Tang (both 4H) For an excellent piece of writing incorporating empathy and emotion. Daniel Frith (6J) For being amazingly helpful and knowledgeable in the art of computer programming, demonstrating empathy and superb teaching skills. Well done to those boys!
Year 3 were out on their trip to the Tate Britain on Monday; and what a lovely day it was!
A very busy week for Year 6 this week, they had a very interesting afternoon on Thursday with their trip to the Houses of Parliament; where they took part in a debating workshop and a tour of Parliament.
They were also out and about riding through the streets of Hampton every morning this week on their Cycling Proficiency with instructors from LBRuT. If anyone would wish to further their own cycling skills, one-to-one sessions are available at a heavily subsidised cost of £10 per 90 minute session to anyone who lives, works or studies in the borough of Richmond Upon Thames. Click here for more details on how to book.
Spirits have been lifted by the sunshine this week – let’s hope we see some more next week. Please don’t forget to send your child in to school with the following so that they are well protected whilst outside during the school day:
- a named sunhat (preferably a school regulation cap)
- a liberal application of sun cream – applied to your child each morning as we are not permitted to apply sun cream here in school
- a freshly filled water bottle to keep well hydrated through the school day.
We know you will already have Sports Day pencilled in to your diaries but here’s a quick reminder – it takes place on Friday 7 June at Prep with races starting at 11.15 am. We hope very much that you will be able to join us and, weather permitting, will stay on to enjoy a picnic lunch on the school field. Letters will be sent out next week containing all the finer detail about the arrangements for this exciting event.
As you will recall from the beginning of term letter, we are also holding the Pre-Prep Art Exhibition in the James Hall from 12.30 – 2.00pm on the same day and hope you will enjoy viewing the children’s artwork from Kindergarten to Year 2 during this time. Also don’t forget, you will be able to leave school early on that day as we have special permission from Mr Smith (but just on this occasion)!
Congratulations to Mylo (Year 1) and Jonny (Year 1) for participating in the regional Megafinal of the Delancy UK Chess Challenge 2019. The Megafinal sees the best players from schools and clubs in the region get together to complete in one competition. 40,000 children enter the UK Chess Challenge but only 20% qualify for the Megafinals. Very well done to you both – what a great achievement!
We also congratulated Jonny for his performance on the sports field. He plays football for Rocks Lane Friday night 5s and won the Fair Play Award – good effort, Jonny.
Harry H (Year 2) received several awards for his performance on the football pitch. Firstly, a plaque for being the parents’ choice as ‘Player of the Year’ and secondly the manager’s choice too for ‘Player of the Year’. Well done, Harry – an impressive collection for your endeavours at NPL U7 football.
The recipient of the Courtesy Cup and Badge this week was Henry (Reception) for his impeccable manners. He always remembers to say please and thank you, and looks people in the eye when talking to them
and Stars of the Week to:
Year 2: Harry B (two stars) for making excellent progress with his maths.
Year 1: Robert (two stars) for working really hard to improve his handwriting and for being an excellent role model to others.
Reception: Noah (two stars) for his lovely neat writing about his stick man.
Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …
Kindergarten have been looking at ‘People Who Help Us’ and there have been numerous discussions about all the people who help to look after us and keep us safe. We used the computer and whiteboard to find information about the emergency services, and watched video clips of a real fire and observed firefighters putting it out. We also looked at a mountain rescue helicopter in action! The children had plenty to share about their own visits to hospital, seeing their doctors. We linked our Golden Rules to the law, talking about how important it is for both children and adults to follow these rules in order to keep everyone safe – ourselves included.
In maths, we looked at simple addition, making ‘number stories’ using bricks and the maths signs. We used mathematical language such as plus, adding, addition and equals when reading and working out the answer for these number stories.
We have been practising our sports day races, where the children are developing their skills, speed and good sportsmanship.
Finally, we have reminded the children not to bring in their toys from home, as we don’t want to risk them getting lost or broken.
Our topic next week is ‘Wild Animals’.
We were excited to receive a letter addressed to Reception class this week – from Stick Man! He was desperately seeking our advice on how to avoid being taken away again, from the family tree. The boys wrote replies giving incredibly thoughtful advice about ways to stay safe. Suggestions included only coming out at night, camouflaging himself amongst the trees or swinging high in the tree-tops and not letting his feet touch the ground! We hope, for his safety, that he heeds our advice! We have also planted sunflower seeds this week and will be observing and measuring them over the coming days. The boys have been excited to spot their seeds starting to sprout shoots and roots. In maths, we have continued to hone our measuring skills, building up to using rulers and recording our measurements in centimetres. We also have been working on estimating and all the boys have become very proficient at making a ‘good guess’.
This week in Year 1, we have read the story ‘Billy’s Bucket’ and shared all the different sea creatures we know. We passed around our own bucket, which had some exciting underwater creatures inside, and we said what we could see in the bucket. Some children used their imagination to picture things that were not really there, just like Billy did! Today, we have used these ideas by writing sentences about what we could see in the bucket. The children all used adjectives to describe the creatures and some children even used commas in a list!
In maths, we have been learning about multiplication by making arrays and pictures with cubes. The children were asked to make lots of different arrays such as “3 lots of 2” using the cubes. We moved on to drawing and colouring in arrays to show different multiplication sums. Today, we had our first proper go at answering times table questions in the style of 3 x 2 = 6. There are some great games on Purple Mash that link to times tables!
This week we have learnt the difference between human and physical features in geography and managed to locate some of these in the United Kingdom. We have been busy practising for sports day and in RE have explored some special items you might find in a Synagogue.
It was a very exciting week for Year 2 as on Wednesday we went on our trip to The Living Rainforest! We had great fun exploring the greenhouses and saw a plethora of plants and animals including monkeys, snakes, butterflies, lizards and lots of creepy crawlies. We were even lucky enough to spot Cinnamon the sloth this year! The adults at the centre were very impressed with how much knowledge the children had of the rainforest and, added to this, they were brilliant at spotting lots of the wildlife we have been learning about. A big thank you to our two parent helpers for the day, Mr Band and Ms Singh.
In maths this week we have been learning about measurement, including measuring temperature, length and mass. We have been using this to solve problems and make comparisons.
We have continued with our rainforest leaflets in English and are hoping to have these finished on Monday.
In science, we learned about food chains and key words for these, including producers, consumers, predators and prey.
In life skills, we spoke about the emergency services and how and when these should be used. The children were very mature when discussing this. Finally, in RE, we spoke about what we do on different days of the week, linking this to how Christians traditionally go to church on a Sunday to show their faith.