Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 6
I have been off site for a couple of days this week, as I was lucky enough to inspect another school in the north of England under the aegis of the ISI (the Independent Schools Inspectorate). This is always a great privilege as it allows me the opportunity to get under the skin of an outfit that is usually completely different from our School, and to delve into the hearts and minds of the pupils, parents and staff working there. I find it very helpful to compare how another school goes about its business with how we go about ours, and to reflect upon how we might improve our pastoral life and academic work here at Hampton Prep.
Mr Ford spoke in assembly on Monday about the importance of excellent manners. Through the lens of our assembly theme of diversity, he quizzed the boys on examples of (suitable!) gestures which are usually considered pretty poor form in this country, but may be considered perfectly polite in a different culture. The powerful image from the recent Rugby World Cup game between New Zealand and Canada was used by Mr Ford to demonstrate the importance of respecting each other, and other cultures: players from both countries, standing side-by-side, showcased this by bowing to the Japanese crowd, knowing as both teams do how important ceremonial bowing is in Japan. Mr Ford then picked a few boys whose excellent manners he has noted recently and handed them an Excellence Slip for behaviours such as holding doors open for others, looking people in the eye when speaking to them, and offering to shake hands when saying good morning or good afternoon. I do not subscribe to the notion that this sort of thing is rather out dated and old fashioned. As Coco Chanel herself is alleged to have remarked: excellent manners never go out of style!
In our Harvest Festival Assembly on Tuesday this week, the boys in the Prep looked at the historical origins of the celebration of the harvest in Europe, and had a brief glimpse of the different ways that other cultures celebrate this event. We were pleased to welcome the Reverend Ben Lovell, Vicar of St Mary’s Hampton and a Governor of the Hampton School Trust, who discussed the importance of ‘harvest’ as a notion in our society. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the generous donations of food and other household goods for the charitable work of the Hampton Food Bank, which the boys have clearly been keen to bring in.
Mrs Tinkler and one or two colleagues from the Bursary at Hampton School and the Prep hosted a really exciting day here yesterday for visiting pupils and staff from 20 local Primary and Prep schools across the Borough. We had offered to run, on behalf of the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames a ‘JTA Day’ for Junior Travel Ambassadors. The 60 or so pupils present – who have each taken on the role of JTA from all sorts of different schools – took part in workshops, discussions and debates on how to reduce traffic flow across the Borough, how to encourage sustainable journeys to and from school and to consider how important it is for all school pupils to stay safe whilst walking, scooting or cycling on our local streets and roads.
Parents of pupils in Year 3 will have had a couple of quiet days this week as their boys got on with all their exciting adventures on their residential trip to Rookesbury Park in Hampshire. I am very much looking forward to hearing from a few of them in assembly on Monday about their trip.
A small staffing matter to update you all on now. Earlier in the term Miss Lucy Robinson, one of Gap Year Teaching Assistants, made the difficult decision to return to her university studies rather than see the year out with us. I am delighted that we have appointed Mr Charlie Zander as our fourth Gap Year Teaching Assistant, who will work alongside the rest of the team.
As we head into the final week of the half term (how did that happen?!) might I remind parents of boys in Years 3 – 5 only of the letter Mr Ford sent last Friday about Open Homework Week? This is the fifth year we have held this event, so to commemorate that we became especially conceptual and we hope your boys will think about the word ‘open’ from all sorts of different angles. Not much about life is ever an open and shut case, it might be too tricky to shout “open sesame” to an angry crocodile to see how far open its dangerous jaws might stretch, it might just be better to open up one’s heart and sing a great song about the word open? (I suspect you get the point I am making – we cannot wait to see the inspiring pieces of work your boys come up with!)
Have a great weekend,
This half term has flown by and we can look back on what has already been a really successful season for all the age groups. We have welcomed new new opposition, caught up with old friends and won both familiar and unfamiliar tournaments.
On Saturday the U11 A&B teams took part in the Surbiton Prep tournament. This is a new one on the calendar and this Surbiton side have proved to be very strong this year, beating us earlier in the season. The B team boys put in a valiant display in the pool stages, falling just short in a number of games that quite frankly they deserved to win. Consequently, they went through into the shield competition, winning the next two games to take home the silverware.
The A team boys were unbeaten in their pool and progressed through to the final with relative ease. Predictably they met Surbiton in the final. However, on this occasion they were unable to get the win. They didn’t have long to wait however to avenge their defeat as they faced them again on Monday and without the pressure and with a more relaxed frame of mind, the boys went out and just enjoyed themselves, resulting in a 4-1 win.
I genuinely believe our new approach is having a real positive impact on the boys and their performance. I think Saturday and Monday are evidence of this. The pressure the boys felt on Saturday was not placed upon them by us as coaches, but by the situation and seemed to hamper them somewhat. On Monday they played with no pressure and expressed their ability. On the odd occasion I have forgotten my own rules and given an instruction to a boy during a game it instantly hits me how that comment suddenly heaps pressure on that boy. Personally, I am enjoying the games a lot more and I feel far more relaxed, having come to terms with the fact that ‘what will be will be’.
Yesterday I spent the morning running a workshop with Junior Traffic Ambassadors as part of borough wide seminar. My workshop was based around our ‘Park and Stride’ scheme and I focused our learning on the health benefits of walking each day. ‘Active transportation’ is the term for it and I tried to get the children to understand a) the benefits to the body of being physically active and b) ways to try and build this physical activity into our every-day routine, such as the commute. It was interesting how engaged the children became when we incorporated other aspects such as science and maths into the activities, by working out the calories burnt and the increase in heart rate. Some useful reminders and helpful tips for us all.
During the course of this week there has also been fixtures for the whole of Year 6, 5 and 4 and the whole of Year 4 get to play again tomorrow. Further proof that physical activity and a healthy lifestyle is a key aspect of our curriculum here at Hampton Prep.
Today is also the ISFA 7-a-side regional tournament for the U11s, held at Aldenham School. Last year the previous U11s won this tournament and progressed through to the National finals at St. George’s Park. Our current Year 6 boys have their sights firmly set on this tournament and are desperate to emulate the exploits of last year’s U11s. I’m sure you will join me in wishing them the best of luck and if they go out and play with freedom and not worry about the outcome I am confident they will do extremely well.
Lastly, next Friday is House Football. All the boys in the school will be involved, so make sure you keep your diaries free, for what I am sure will be a lovely afternoon. This will be followed by the Open Homework exhibition before a well deserved half term break.
Have a great weekend.
We have really missed our Year 3’s in school over the past few days! I’m sure they will have lots to tell us about in school next week but for now here are a few pictures from their time at Rookesbury Park.
Please also note that late stay will be at the Prep School, Gloucester Road on Thursday 17 October.
Who knew the word ‘open’ could provoke such varied and interesting interpretations – what a bunch of creative, sparky individuals we have here at Pre-Prep! You will be able to see all the amazing projects when you are here for our Parents’ Meetings next week. A quick reminder, this takes place on Thursday 17 October and there will be an exhibition in the hall showing off the children’s fabulous work in connection with ‘open’.
On that note, please do contact the School Office to arrange your meeting if you have not already done so. For those new to the school, appointments start at 4.00pm and parents may book in for ten minutes with their child’s class teacher(s). Whilst we do our very best to keep the appointments running to time, we ask that you bear with us – inevitably, some do over run slightly. Also, a quick plea, if you are running late please do contact the School Office, as this means we can rejig appointment slots as necessary. Up until 5.30 pm, you will be able to ring through to the School Office on the normal number but, after this time, please contact us on the mobile phone number that will be emailed to you next week.
If your child is booked in to Late Stay next Thursday, please note that this will operate from the Prep site. Children booked in to attend will be taken to Gloucester Road at 3.30pm and should be collected from there before 5.30pm.
We were thrilled to hear about Thiyaan’s achievements in karate; he has shown the required technical ability and discipline to earn his ‘red black stripe’ karate belt – many congratulations!
This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Caleb (Reception) for his excellent manners and offering to help Mrs Swain with the photocopying during wet play.
and Stars of the Week to:
Year 2: Callum for the wonderful writing he is producing in class – keep it up!
Year 1: Mahir for a fantastic effort with his work this week.
Reception: Sendan for working hard learning the names of the 2D and 3D shapes.
Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …
We have had a ‘Roarsome’ time in Kindergarten this week as we learn about dinosaurs. Using the computer, we found out lots of information and facts about the prehistoric creatures that existed 65 million years ago. We found out that whilst some dinosaurs lived on land, others lived in the water and some were covered in feathers so they could fly. We discovered that the dinosaurs were very different to each other – some had 2 legs, some had 4 legs and some were super speedy where as some were extremely slow. We have also learned new words such as ‘carnivore’, ‘herbivore’, ‘extinct’ and ‘palaeontologist’ and their meanings. Play in class this week has been all based on our topic as we made dinosaur green playdough, masks and there have been lots of dinosaur themed cutting and sticking! We have enjoyed reading lots of stories about dinosaurs and some children brought in their favourite dinosaur story books from home to share – thank you!
We have a new class dinosaur friend called ‘Askaraptor’. He is teaching us to ask questions to our friends and teachers. For example, Askarpator says, ‘”I am curious” and “I ask questions”.
Using the computer mouse and keyboard, we painted some great pictures using the ‘2 Paint’ program on Purple Mash. It was exciting to change colours, tools and visual effects to create our masterpieces before printing them out to take home.
The children have enjoyed showing their ‘Open’ Homework and proudly spoke in front of the class about what they made and who they made it with. There have been so many lovely creations, we did not realise that so many things open!
We have enjoyed learning about dinosaurs so much that we are going to continue the topic next week and maybe we will become palaeontologists as we search for bones and fossils in the sand!
What a busy week we have had in Reception! We have enjoyed listening to the story ‘The Little Red Hen’, and have retold it using puppets and props. The story is about a very busy red hen who wishes to bake a loaf of bread by planting the seed, harvesting and grinding the flour to bake the bread. The hen’s lazy farm friends refused to help, that is, until she had finally finished the baking. We read and discussed different endings to the story in different versions of the book.
We all enjoyed getting messy making bread clay. We broke the bread into tiny pieces mixed with glue and flour! It was fun mixing and kneading the dough mixture. Our role-play area this week is a very busy bakery and some very busy cooks have been playing Master Chef!
In mathematics, we have been learning the names and properties of 2D and 3D shapes. We have enjoyed sorting shapes and have used lots of mathematical language. The boys especially enjoyed sorting a bag full of shopping into 3D shape groups. We have been focusing on the numbers 8 and 9 and practising forming all of our numbers.
Year 1 have been reading the book ‘Not a Stick’ in their English lessons. We spent time sequencing the story and later in the week thought about other objects the stick could be. We wrote descriptive sentences about our ‘stick’.
In maths, we have been learning how to measure. At the beginning of the week, we spent time measuring the length of different objects using non-standard units, progressing on to using our ruler to measure length in cm.
In science, we continued our work on seasons, looking at how trees change during the year. We also talked about how some trees are ‘evergreen’ and keep their green leaves all year round. Next week, we will be learning about hibernating animals.
This week Year 2 have been reading ‘Peter Spier’s Circus’ by Peter Spier. We have been looking very closely at the detailed illustrations and writing descriptions about what we could see at Peter Spier’s circus. We have also ordered the daily events that take place for people travelling around with a circus and at what time they happen. Next week, we will continue with this text and we will be writing diary entries as if we are circus performers and some top tips for how to look after the animals living at the circus. Our phonics sound next week will be /ar/.
We have spent this week’s maths lessons adding and subtracting numbers within 50. We have been learning how to solve missing number problems such as ? + 3 = 7, 8 – ? = 2 and ? – 1 = 5. We have used 100 squares to help us with this style of question as we could count forwards or backwards (depending on the question). Today, we completed some mental arithmetic questions too. Next week, we will be estimating and measuring length and heights. We will also be comparing measurements using the <, > and = symbols.
This afternoon we have been busy designing our own circus village and yesterday the children started to design their own circus poster using the program Word on the computers. We will continue to work on these next week. The boys have created some really fantastic pieces of art work with Mrs Timba in the style of Matisse – we are looking forward to displaying them around the School!
Have a super weekend!