Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 30
The final theme for our assemblies this half term is the word ’collaboration’ and there has certainly been plenty of that in evidence here this week, with more to come this evening at the Prep Picnic & Proms due to take place at Hampton School. We have had several years of wonderfully warm weather for this equivalent event, up until now, so I suppose a slightly cooler, slightly damp evening was bound to come our way at some point. I am confident the weather will not dampen the enthusiasm of the boys and the vitality of their singing and music making however, and the very joyful nature of this event overall!
Mr Ford opened our exploration of the theme of ‘collaboration’ in his assembly on Monday morning. It featured, at various points, a film clip of the amazing dance troupe ‘Diversity’ from the TV show ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, a waddle of penguins and the well-known fable of the lion and the oxen. Boys heard from Mr Ford how working as part of a team matters a great deal to us here, and the notion that ‘united we stand, divided we fall’ is an important mantra to remember when difficult times prevail, for they will for us all, at some stage. It is, I believe, unrealistic to expect any child to grow and develop thinking that a few bad times will not come their way. However, we hope that a solid understanding of how to behave collaboratively may fend off a few of those bad times nonetheless.
Mr Henderson and 4H picked up on this in their excellent assembly this morning. Their practice and rehearsal times had been curtailed this week partly due to us having to shut the School on Wednesday, due to the water supply problems we encountered. They made sure the show carried on though, and the way they communicated how important collaboration is by literally sharing who said what this morning, sometimes speaking alone and sometimes speaking in sequenced chorus, was a clever symbolic representation of the message that lay at the heart of their assembly.
In particularly unsuitable weather on Monday, a group of eight Year 5 and 6 boys braved the rain to attend the 50th London Prep Schools’ Athletics Meet at the Thames Valley Athletic Stadium on Monday. Mr Darmon writes about this in his Sports Bulletin today too. Mr Salt led this trip and reported back to me that he felt the standard of competition at this event is always high and this year was no exception. The Year 6 boys got off to a good start in the 4 x 100m relay, placing 4th. In the individual events, the boys represented the school admirably. Of particular note was Luke Nunn’s effort in the 200m, which earned him a place in the final. However, the biggest congratulations must go to Marcus Solomon, who was victorious in the Year 5 800m race, setting a new event record in the process! This is a terrific accomplishment at an important regional sporting event and we are all very proud of Marcus here.
Those of you who follow us on Twitter will have seen the Year 6 boys present a lovely hamper of sensory stimulating toys and games to a visitor whom we welcomed here at School this week from the Shooting Star Children’s Hospice. The basket of games and activities was, we were told, destined to be put to good use and the charity was most grateful to receive it.
On an entirely different note, our very first French play performance took place in the James Hall on Thursday. Many ‘grands mercis’ to Mme Houghton for organising it. A trip to space was the subject of the play, and the performance was very interactive. The actors reported to Mme Houghton after the show how impressed they were with the boys’ understanding of some pretty wide ranging French vocabulary and how authentic their accents were. “Vive la vie française” at Hampton Prep I say!
Mr Peter Cowley, from the Local Authority safeguarding service Achieving for Children, presented his lively and very informative sessions to boys and parents on Tuesday aimed at helping us all to stay safe online. Next week Mrs Murphy, our Designated Safeguarding Lead, will be sending on all the materials that Mr Cowley used on Tuesday night in his session with parents, as promised.
Have a great weekend,
There hasn’t been a lot of sport played this week because it has either been too wet or alternatively in a stranger occurrence, too dry. We did manage to fulfil our U8 and U9 fixture against Willington on Tuesday and it was good to see the boys back in action. I umpired the U9 D team and there was a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and more importantly a tremendous amount of fun on show and the result came down to the last ball of match. It didn’t go our way and we were really unlucky to ultimately lose, but none of the boys that played in that match were losers and it was really enjoyable afternoon for me and I hope for all the boys that played. A special mention must go to Lucas Band who hit two sixes in a fine batting display, that earnt him the Man of the Match award.
Despite the terrible weather, we were still able to send a team to the London Prep Schools Athletics meet held at Harrow on Monday. The team was made up of Year 5 and Year 6 boys and they competed in track events ranging from 100m to 1500m, as well as the long jump. All the boys acquitted themselves admirably but one boy excelled. Marcus Solomon was running in the 800m Year 5 race and across two heats was the fastest boy by some distance and set a new London region record. As of Year 6, if a boy wins their regional event then they qualify for the National Championships in Birmingham and so we have our fingers crossed that he can repeat this tremendous feat next year. Well done Marcus, an outstanding achievement.
Last week I spent the week with 35 Year 6 boys who embarked upon a great adventure that tested them both mentally and physically. The trip to TYF in St. David’s in Pembrokeshire is a particular highlight of mine every year. We as teachers, are privileged to see the boys in a unique setting that invariably allows them to display hidden skills and talents that are not always evident in school and in a short space of time, see them grow and blossom into impressive young men.
You can be mistaken for thinking that an outdoor adventure trip, such as this, is purely focused on physical skills. However, the reason I enjoy it so much, is less to do with the thrill and adrenaline that the activities such as coasteering and rock climbing offer, but more to do with the resilience and fortitude that these activities help to develop in the boys.
No one cares how good you are at kayaking or surfing or how good your entry is into the sea is as you jump off a cliff into the surf. What we are looking to develop is the the courage to take the jump or the grit to put on another cold and damp wetsuit and help lug a heavy kayak down to the water when it would be much easier to sit and watch and decide that it isn’t worth the effort. In addition, we focus heavily on how the boys help and support each other, because there is no doubt a week such as this can’t be completed independently and at some point everyone will need a helping hand.
One of the real joys for me were the positive comments we got from the TYF staff and how much they told us they enjoyed working with our boys. You may think that they would say this to all the schools and I am sure they do, but one comment which I believe highlights what I believe is their sincerity, came from an activity leader called Ella. Ella has worked with our school for at least the past three years. On the last evening she told me how much she looks forward to and enjoys our school being there each year because of the unique way we get the boys to reflect and openly talk about their fears and anxieties and their ability to give thanks to their peers.
Every evening we would spend some time reflecting on either the day’s events or maybe some other event in the future, such as the move to their senior schools next year. We would ask each boy to talk openly about their anxieties, or to give thanks to someone who had helped them, in front of the whole year group. Ella explained how she had never seen school children, particularly boys, so comfortable in doing this and how heart-warming it was to see the boys talk so enthusiastically in front of others in such a way. In some cases, competing to be the first to talk about what they were worried about, in contrast to most other schools, where it would be difficult to get anyone to open up so publicly.
I believe that is the real strength of this trip and justifies our approach to teaching and developing your boys across all the subjects in the way we do. There was plenty of laughter and joy, some tears and some tired and grumpy teachers. However, the boys will never forget the week and we as teachers can happily plod on in the knowledge that we are doing the right thing by your boys and preparing them in the best possible way for life beyond Hampton Prep, because for all of them it will come round all too soon.
Every single one of those boys that attended the trip last week were a credit to themselves, the school and their families and it was a privilege to be part of it.
Have a great weekend.
Head of PE and Games
It’s been a bit of a hectic week at school, what with the water situation on Wednesday which meant we all had to head home early! Even though this was terribly exciting for the boys it also meant that we missed out on our smoothie bike workshop, so we just wanted to say thank you anyway to all the boys that made the extra effort to come to school in an environmentally friendly manner that morning. The boys in Year 6 still managed to have their “fit food” demonstration and it all got a bit messy when they made some protein balls!
On Thursday after a full morning of proms rehearsals the boys were treated to a French Play organised by Mme Houghton in the afternoon.
Another busy morning today as we saw our House Maths take place in the James Hall followed by our re-scheduled book swap! We are all very much looking forward to the annual Proms taking place this evening at the Hammond Theatre in Hampton School.
Although a somewhat quieter week in Pre-Prep than the last, it has nevertheless been very exciting here … with an added element of royal news. There was huge excitement when the post arrived at lunchtime on Monday, as with it came a letter from the QUEEN! Year 2 children wrote letters to the Palace earlier in the year as part of their topic work and, as you can imagine, it was thrilling to have received a response from her Lady in Waiting, Mary Morrison before the end of the academic year.
In assemblies for the remainder of the year, we will be exploring the word ‘Collaboration’. William (Year 1) helped us get started with this theme as he shared his experiences of Trooping the Colour. He was lucky enough to be invited to the event on Saturday, which he thoroughly enjoyed. He was the only one of his age there and was a real ‘trooper’ as he stood waiting for 2 hours before it actually started. He had a fabulous time and went home covered in dust from all the marching and horses moving about. Fine examples of collaboration, we think – not only the parading horses but topped off with the amazing Red Arrow display!
The Summer Fair on Saturday 22 June looms ever closer. It takes place at the Prep department between 12 noon and 3.00pm. Please may I make a plea on behalf of the Class Reps who desperately need your help to run the stalls on the day? Year 2 and Kindergarten, in particular, need more volunteers to take a turn, so do consider signing up on the rota, as the Summer Fair is always great fun and the children benefit greatly from the funds raised. Farms2Ewe is a prime example of how we gain from such events. You also only have one week left to buy raffle tickets – again, all proceeds will be going back into activities and equipment for the children in the coming year!
We are delighted to see some sweetie jars coming into school. Pre-Prep children will earn a team point for each jar and the winning team will earn an extra playtime – what greater incentive!
Thank you to everyone who attended Peter Cowley’s online safety talk this week – we hope you found it useful. I will be sending out his material next week to all parents.
Don’t forget Sports Day has been rescheduled for Wednesday 19 June. It takes place at Prep and will start at 9.30am. Unfortunately, we cannot have the picnic lunch after the races as Years 5 and 6 are back from their residential trips, so space is unavailable on this occasion. However, we have been extremely lucky to negotiate the Art Exhibition being up for longer, so if you were not able to view the children’s work last Friday, you will be able to do so until 11.45am on Wednesday.
In today’s assembly, we congratulated Finn (Year 2) for earning two football trophies from the Hampton and Richmond Borough Football Club – one for being the top goal scorer in the U7 to under 11 teams this season and one for being a part of the U7 team.
We also congratulated Thiyaan (Year 1) for earning his black belt in martial arts. Thiyaan has shown the required technical ability and discipline to be awarded this grading. He has shown his instructors that he has worked hard and he has shown the required standard for this grade.
This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Alfie (Reception) for being a kind and considerate friend, and for always offering to help his teachers when needed.
and Stars of the Week to:
Year 2: Aashish (2 stars) for trying hard to use the Mrs Wordsmith words within his writing and having so much fun doing so.
Year 1: Daniel (2 stars) for being adventurous with his punctuation when writing, for example question marks, exclamation marks and commas in lists!
Reception: Theo (2 stars) for working really hard at home to improve his letter formation.
Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …
It has been a full on ‘fact finding week’ as Kindergarten have sourced information about minibeasts, using the computer and various non-fiction books to find facts about these creatures. Here are some of our favourite facts; a dragonfly has ears on its tummy, when ladybirds feel threatened they bleed from their knees, butterflies feed from their feet and spiders have eight eyes as well as eight legs.
Our research did not stop there, as the children wanted to discover more, in particular, about spiders. We learned that not all spiders weave webs but, those that do, produce webs made out of a silk thread from their glands. We found out that they have oil on their feet to stop them from sticking to their own webs. This led to an investigation of our own using sticky tape and oil to see what it is like for spiders – we were surprised that without the oil, our fingers stuck to the tape but, with it, our fingers did not stick at all!
In mathematics, we each chose and coloured a picture of our favourite minibeasts and then as a group we then put this information into a pictogram and it was clear that spiders were the most popular of all.
Our final ‘bug themed’ treat involved a range of minibeasts set in jelly – we needed to use tweezers to ‘dissect’ them from the jelly and to place in sorting bowls. As you can imagine, this was a very messy but extremely fun activity.
We used all the information gleaned this week to inform the rest of our friends in Pre-Prep in our first class assembly. We made fun bug hats and shared our fact finds from the week – another great example of collaboration in school!
We have really enjoyed learning about minibeasts and have decided to continue this topic next week too. We cannot wait until Thursday when we embark on a real bug hunt in Bushy Park.
On Thursday afternoon, we enjoyed a visit from the Hampton Year 4 boys who kindly allowed the children to ‘try and test’ toys that they had made as part of their DT project. We enjoyed the toys very much indeed.
After our farm visit last week, Reception were very keen to read some farm stories. Our favourite this week has been The Three Billy Goats Gruff. We have had great fun retelling the story using puppets and different voices for the different characters. We then talked about how some versions of traditional tales have different endings – in the big book version of the Three Billy Goats Gruff that we read, the troll apologised and they all became friends! We became authors and wrote our own versions of the story, and designed front covers, beginning, middle and end pages. We also talked about blurbs and each boy wrote an exciting description of their story, trying to draw their readers in by using questions like ‘what will happen next?, ‘Will the goats cross the bridge?’ and ‘Will the troll be bad or good?’
In mathematics, we have been learning how to collect information about favourite animals and then how to represent it in different ways. We have made tally charts, pictograms and bar graphs. We then spent time analysing the data – finding out which was the most and least popular animal and by how many. We were interested to find out that rabbits were the most popular farm animal we saw last week.
Year 1 have started their new English topic this week, letters, which could not have been better timed with Year 2 receiving their special letter from the Queen! We have been thinking about the features of letters and enjoyed reading ‘The Jolly Postman’ to see all the different types of letters one might receive. We then moved on to read ‘Dear Greenpeace’, which is a lovely story about a girl who writes to Greenpeace asking for advice about the whale she has found in her garden pond. We explored the Greenpeace website as a class and recorded some information about what they do. The children are looking forward to writing their own letters next week.
In maths, we started the week by solving addition and subtraction word problems and have now moved on to consolidating our knowledge of 2D and 3D shapes. We have completed shape patterns and have revised the names and properties of common shapes.
In the afternoons, we have been busy learning about the national flowers for countries in the United Kingdom, finding out about different places of worship and measuring the wind using a wind sock!
As already mentioned, what an exciting day for Year 2 on Monday this week! We were absolutely delighted to receive a letter from Mary Morrison, one of the Queen’s most senior Ladies in Waiting, in response to the letters that we wrote to Her Majesty last term when learning about Inspiring Individuals. It explained how grateful the Queen was for our lovely letters and contained some information about the Queen’s life to answer our many questions.
During the rest of the week, we have been using different written methods (partitioning, the column method and blank number lines) to solve addition and subtraction word problems. We have also begun to look at data collection, including how to read and interpret bar charts and tally charts.
In English, we are thinking about story writing. We heard the beginning of Roald Dahl’s ‘The Magic Finger’ and had to predict what might happen next before finding out the actual fate of the Gregg family. We have thought about how to write speech in stories and had to think carefully about where all the different punctuation goes! Next week, we will be writing our own stories based on a picture. The children have been brilliant at trying to use the Mrs Wordsmith words in all areas of the curriculum and are continuing to have great fun with this!
We designed and then began our rainforest shoe boxes this week by painting the backgrounds – next week we will be making the plants and vegetation. In science, we looked again at different seed designs before designing our seeds, thinking carefully about how they will travel from one place to another.
We have continued our work on transition in life skills by talking about how we are feeling about moving into Year 3 and discussing the questions that we have. We also have the worry monster and comments jar in the classroom for if the boys would like to put any further questions or comments in these. The boys are very much looking forward to going to Prep next Tuesday to meet their new teachers!
Please remember that Year 2 have scooter training next Thursday morning and so will need to bring their scooters to school, as well as wear their PE kits on that day.
Have a super weekend – hopefully not too soggy!