Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 1
It was a great thrill for us to return to school this week, and I have very much enjoyed hearing about the wonderful summer adventures that it seems so many of your children and you have enjoyed! For those of you who are new to the School, I write a Bulletin each week which mostly focuses on the Prep, Mrs Murphy writes one that mostly focuses on the Pre-Prep and Mr Darmon gives us an excellent round up of the sport at our School in his weekly Bulletin. Please click on the tabs above to access all of them.
In addition to all of our new pupils joining our School community this week, we welcomed the following new members of staff too:
- Mr Alan Blackman-Rogers
- Miss Jessica Ireland
- Miss Neve Lawler
- Miss Lucy Robinson
These four new colleagues are our Gap Year Teaching Assistants (GYTAs) and we are delighted to have them on board. They have either variously just finished their A Levels (or equivalent) or are part way through their undergraduate degrees, and at least two of them so far (we will work on the remaining two this year!) are currently training to teach.
We also welcomed Mrs Karen O’Brien and Mrs Zoe Tomkins onto our team this week. They will both be based in the Pre-Prep as Teaching Assistants there. They come to us from two local, well regarded maintained primary schools and bring bags of reassuring experience with them, which we are delighted about.
Please may I now take the opportunity to remind you all to park legally, safely and with all due common sense and consideration when dropping your children off by car, or if you drive to school to collect them?
- Please do not ever block our neighbours’ drives. I become pretty upset when anyone blocks my driveway at home so I know exactly how this makes our neighbours feel when it happens to them. It is inconsiderate, inexcusable and therefore impossible for us to defend on your behalves when it has occurred in the past and our neighbours are seeking explanations from my team and me about your poor parking behaviour. I respectfully ask you please not to put us in this unfair position. Blocking even a small portion of a dropped curb or a driveway can make it very difficult for our neighbours – including those who are elderly – to leave their own homes, especially where the streets around the school tend to become narrower in places than on most other streets.
- Please do not idle with your vehicle’s engine running. Again, this is bad for our neighbourly relations and more importantly, bad for the environment. Some parents have explained to me that waiting in the car when the weather becomes cold means they have to keep the engine running to keep the heater on to keep warm. I am recommending that you turn your engines off and put on a jumper.
- Although we cannot mandate which roads you park on, please consider the ‘park & stride’ approach for the final phase of the school run. We would ask you please to build time into your journey to school in both the morning and afternoon to park at least 10 minutes’ walk away from school, on streets where there is bound to be less congestion, and to walk the final 10-minute distance to school. A good number of you really got into the habit of doing this last year and it made such a massive difference to the traffic on Gloucester Road in particular, so thank you very much for that. Please keep it up!
And finally, (…on a slightly cheerier note!) the School features in this term’s edition of Attain magazine, the voice of the Prep school world in many respects. I also strongly recommend you read the article by Linda Renfrew. She is a wise woman, whom I know reasonably well, and her article makes perfect sense to me. Your children will be bringing home a print edition of the magazine this afternoon but if you wish to access the digital edition to see how we are included, here is the link:
I hope to see some of you at the two different football tournaments that Prep boys will be playing in tomorrow. If I do not, best wishes for a great weekend!
I write to you with regards to a new approach and policy I am implementing in relation to sports fixtures and tournaments against other schools, as I mentioned to those present at the meeting for Year 3 – 5 parents on 4 September.
Through extensive research, combined with my own developing experience, it is my belief that shouting instructions and direction to our boys during matches is actually detrimental to their development as sportsmen. The culture that is developed through this type of coaching is one that leans towards the result being the most important thing. Enjoyment is at the heart of all we do here at Hampton Prep, in relation to sport, and our ultimate aim is to foster a love and passion for sport that will last a lifetime.
I have therefore explained to all members of my department that they are not to coach during the game, but to give only encouragement and then provide three keys points for improvement at half time.
I have been looking at the work of Gordon MacLelland, CEO of ‘Working with Parents in Sport’ and Rianne Kannekens who is a Lecturer and researcher in the field of expertise Talent Identification & Talent Development at Groningen University. Both of which support the view that shouting constant instruction from the side line is not only generally ineffective due to cognitive overload issues, but actually has long term negative implications on children’s sporting development. They explain:
• It reduces problem solving skills
• It decreases decision making skills
• It reduces creativity in young players
• It reduces the child’s enjoyment
• It increases the pressure on the child
• It increases anxiety in the child
• It prevents children from mastering life skills
• It decreases the ability of the child to cope independently (particularly if the parent and the coach are not around)
Please see some further excellent advice from Gordon MacLelland:
‘Pay attention the next time you’re on the side lines. Consider how you as a coach or parents act differently depending on the score line. Listen to the shouts of “Pass! Shoot it! Move up! Be aggressive! Not in the middle!”
When the score is close, the volume increases, but once a team is three or four goals ahead, both sides, resigned to the outcome, relax. If learning and fun were the main objective, why would we act differently when the “game is on the line”?’
We want to foster independence, critical thinking under pressure (the pressure of the game) and enjoyment and I don’t believe we do this when we try to talk them through every aspect of the match.
I am certainly not pointing the finger at anyone or suggesting our actions are nothing but well meant. I have never heard a negative or critical comment from a Hampton Prep parent about a player or official. I am just not sure we are doing the best by our boys by taking such an involved approach.
It would be terrific if I could please rely upon you all to support this new approach from us here at school. It may result in us losing a few matches but ultimately a child’s development is of far greater importance to me and my team here than ‘scores on the board’ on their own. Please do feel you can still cheer your boys on and encourage them in a wholehearted manner. This remains important as they love to know we are there to support. My preference now however is for them to be thinking for themselves as they play, free from unnecessary and unhelpful distraction.
If you would like to talk to me in any more detail about this approach, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
With all good wishes,
Head of Games and PE
Year 3 have really taken to life at the Prep! This morning they very much enjoyed taking part in team building activities at the senior school:
Please remember that all CCAs commence next week, however, there will be no CCAs on Friday 13 September due to the Swimming Gala taking place at Hampton Pools.
Chris Harrison, the Cricket Coaching Professional at Hampton School, will be running cricket coaching sessions in the excellent sports hall at the school. These sessions are perfectly suited for young cricketers who wish to continue to play and improve through the off season. The weekly sessions will allow young player’s to make significant improvements in understanding, technique, performance and confidence. The young cricketers will be placed in skill specific groups when appropriate and there will be an excellent coach to player ratio. Please click here for more details on how to book a place.
We should like to extend a very warm welcome back to school. We are especially keen to extend this welcome to our new families. It has been heartening to see the children quickly immersing themselves into all aspects of school life and we have been so impressed to see how speedily they have adapted to new teachers, classrooms and routines!
We would urge you to get in touch if you have any concerns whatsoever, as we know small niggles all too easily build and escalate; therefore, we would like you to know that we are on hand to offer support and guidance as soon as we possibly can. To this end, please know you can contact your child’s class teacher directly via email, or if you prefer send a message to the School Office. Here are the email addresses to assist you:
Year 2: Miss Page email@example.com
Year 1: Mrs Doyle firstname.lastname@example.org
Mrs Timba email@example.com
Reception: Miss Johnston firstname.lastname@example.org
Kindergarten: Mrs Hand email@example.com
It was great to see so many of you at the Information Evenings for Reception, Years 1 and 2 earlier this week – we hope you found the evening useful. Booklets will emailed out next week and we will distribute class timetables once we have worked through a full week and ironed out any little glitches.
At Hampton Pre-Prep, we love to celebrate the children’s achievements, including those earned out of school. This year, at our Thursday assembly, Mr Smith will be present so please do send in your child’s certificates, medals and trophies, and he will be on hand to present the awards. A brief explanation is always much appreciated, particularly for the more unusual pastimes!
It is terrific that we have already seen a number of certificates this week. Our congratulations to the following children: Arthur (Year 2) for achieving merit in Electronic Keyboard, Thomas (Year 1) for Learn to Swim Stage 2 and Noah (Year 1) for his certificate from The Bike Academy, as well as two further certificates – Stage 1 and 2 Learn to Swim. Well done to you all!
On Wednesday (11 September), we have individual and class photographs taking place. Please remember to send your child in to school in the correct uniform, looking as neat and tidy as possible. We will send out a reminder early next week!
Here’s what our classes have been up to this week…
We have had a great first week in Kindergarten. The children have settled well and have enjoyed exploring their new classroom. The dinosaurs and wild animals have been a very popular activity and there’s been plenty of roaring from tigers and lions. The outdoor learning environment has also been in high demand, as the children were very eager to get outside to climb on the climbing frame, play in the sand pit and whizz around on the scooters and bikes. We saw a queue for the petrol pumps as the children waited patiently for their vehicle to be refilled!
Next week as we continue to settle in, we will be learning more about routines and rules of Kindergarten.
Well, what a wonderful start to Reception we have had. All the boys have settled in so incredibly well to our Reception routines and rules and, most importantly, we have had a happy and fun-filled three days. A huge well done to all our boys for a brilliant start to school life at Hampton Pre-Prep!
This week, the boys have become familiar with our classroom, had a tour of the School, talked about the Golden Rules and painted self-portraits. We especially enjoyed our PE lesson with the parachute in the sunshine. Next week, we continue our topic ‘Ourselves’ and look forward to learning more about our friends.
For Show and Tell on Wednesday, we would love to see a favourite book or toy from home. Please we may we ask that all shoes and socks are clearly named – we take off shoes and socks on a Friday for our yoga session and reuniting the right black shoe with the right boy can prove a challenge!
Year 1 have had a fabulous start to the Autumn Term. The children were extremely excited to name our class ‘pet’, Pengy! Pengy the Penguin will be visiting all of you for a weekend at some point during the year.
We wrote about our wishes for Year 1 and have made a beautiful kite display to remind ourselves what we would like to achieve. We also enjoyed sharing Summer Holiday news – what exciting things we got up to over the break, from glamping to learning to dive and surf! We revised our numbers from 0-20 in maths in preparation for working on numbers bonds next week.
In English next week, we will be reading the story ‘Knuffle Bunny’. Please don’t forget to bring in a favourite soft toy for Tuesday.
Year 2 have had a great few days back at school! The children have told me all about their summer holidays by writing a short piece about this in their English books. They have also been practising the alphabet, making sure they remember both the uppercase and lowercase versions of each. They found a letter stuck to the bottom of their chair and had to find their lowercase/uppercase partner in a speed challenge and then organise themselves into alphabetical order.
In maths, we have been revising how many tens and ones there are in a 2-digit number and we used the dienes to help us with this (sticks/rods of ten and cubes of ones). Today we completed a mental arithmetic challenge, which involved lots of different mathematical questions and operations. We will be completing these weekly on a Friday.
This afternoon we introduced ourselves to our new Humanities topic, ‘The Circus!’ by learning a little bit about roles in the circus. The boys impressed me with their brilliant knowledge of the many different roles there are within the circus and brainstormed everything they already know about this topic.
Next week, we will be reading ‘If I Ran The Circus’ by Dr Seuss and completing a range of activities based on this book, starting with rhyming. In maths, we will be learning how to use the < and > signs to compare numbers as well as practising how to write numbers as words.
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.