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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 10

This Week

Dear Parents,

On Monday this week we welcomed Mr Hugh Bagnall-Oakeley, Senior Hunger Policy Advisor from the charity ‘Save the Children’ here at school, who spoke to us about the work that the charity does all over the world to support children and families living in deprived and vulnerable environments. The boys listened very carefully and were able to make some excellent contributions to our visitor’s address. Year 5 pupil Theo Tang is running a ‘Rubik’s Cube Challenge’ next week, to raise funds for ‘Save the Children’ as part of his L.I.O.N. Award. Your boys know all the details regarding how to take part, and how much they might be able to donate. Do please discuss this with them and encourage them to have a go next week here at school.

Miss Ireland, one of our Gap Year Teaching Assistants, has been supporting our Junior Travel Ambassadors (JTAs) this term. The Year 5 boys who have taken on the role of JTA also spoke at assembly on Monday regarding how they hope to encourage us all to travel to school in an environmentally sustainable and safe way. It is always great to see our pupils cycling, scooting and walking to school. If you do come by car, may I remind you now to consider the ‘Park & Stride’ option? This requires you to park some short distance away from school and to walk the last little bit, usually up to ten minutes. This is of course good for you and your sons’ health, good for the environment as well as helping to reduce traffic congestion on Gloucester and Wensleydale Roads.

It was very exciting on Thursday as we welcomed the famous author SF Said to school for the afternoon. We are all fans of his cat-themed books here (given they are about cats, frankly, who wouldn’t be??) and his first novel Varjak Paw is one of our class readers in the Prep, as many of you will know. It was fascinating to hear from Mr Said that he had received 90 (!) rejections from publishers over the years. We were also astonished to learn that the final version of Varjak Paw, a book we all know and love, had been through 15 previous drafts before being considered fit for publication. The boys were able to share their love of reading with Mr Said and he in turn emphasised again and again how important it is to persevere with any creative endeavour – writing especially – and that no one ever gets anything they write “right” the very first time they produce it. My thanks now to Mrs Campbell for organising such a wonderful opportunity for the boys and staff to spend so much time in the presence of greatness – it was a very inspiring event!

Mrs Lutz, the boys in 5C and Mr Chilcott continued exploring what the word ‘integrity’ means in assemblies this week. We admired Mrs Lutz’s bravery – and her honesty – as she explained how awful on occasion she has felt when she knew in her heart of hearts her own sense of integrity had slipped a little. She had some wise advice for us all on how to stay brave and honest and how important it is to do the right thing, no matter what. 5C reminded us that integrity is, in many respects, not evidenced through grand gestures and over blown largesse. Every day, kind gestures and a constant positive outlook on life are so important if we wish for our own sense of integrity to have any chance of shining through. I couldn’t agree more!

Do please find time to discuss our assemblies with your boys every now and then. I love observing them absorb it all each morning. We are always keen to hear how their thoughts and feelings develop once they have had some time to reflect upon and digest what we aim to cover.

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith


Sports News

It has been another really busy week on the football pitches with all year groups playing in the past week. Last Friday both the U9s and U8s played against TPS, then this week the U10s and U11s played against Claremont and today sees all the U9 boys playing away against Surbiton.

We only have one week left of football fixtures and so now would seem a good time to evaluate how our new policy of not providing instruction from the side lines has gone. From a personal perspective I believe the new approach has worked really well. By that I mean that it has given me the freedom to actually enjoy watching, and by not allowing myself to become so invested I am less concerned about the result.

It has also helped me realise, on the odd occasion I do forget and let out an instruction, that for the most part the child has no real chance of following it. There is far too much other stimuli vying for their attention and it only adds to the fog and is ultimately counter productive.

I would also like to thank the parents for fully embracing this new approach and I have been really pleased with how you have all tried to follow suit and just allow the boys to play. I know it is not always easy and so I thank you for being on board.

I have not seen any detrimental effect in terms of performance and so I fully intend for this to remain our policy as we move into the rugby season. Personally, I think I will find this far more difficult, as the game (due to its more complex nature), is not as easy for boys to understand. Therefore, I am predicting their will be many occasions when I will be having to bite my tongue rather harder than I have in the football season. However, it is then down to us as coaches to work on these things in training sessions.

Yesterday evening the staff had a CPD session and we talked about metacognitive learning and self regulated learners. During the session one common belief was that you learn when you get things wrong. Therefore, every time I see something during the rugby season that makes me want to shout and tell the boys what to do, I shall remind myself of this.

Taking this approach is a great way to help develop self regulated learners. Having an ability to evaluate and edit their performance accordingly (and at such a young age) is a crucial skill in their development both on the sports field and in the classroom. It is something that will provide enormous benefits to them as they progress in their education.

One of the things that has struck me, having taken teams for fixtures in all the age groups over the past two weeks is how differently boys progress. I can think of three boys off the top of my head that have improved dramatically in terms of performance since I last saw them.

For some this has taken a year, for some, three years. The point being, that what we see when the boys first enter the school may not be the picture we see when they leave four years later. We have to let boys grow and mature and continue to check in on their progress to ensure they are catered for accordingly.

It is also another reason why I believe it is important that children do not focus on just one sport. The path which nature takes with their body, may lend itself to something much different over the course of their time in school and so it would be a shame to put all their eggs in one basket.

Take advantage of everything on offer; there is masses of research to show that children who experience a variety of sports, go on to be far more successful than those that focus in too early.

Have a great weekend.

Mr Darmon

Head of Games and PE

Prep News

In assembly this week Headmaster’s Commendations were awarded to Conor Harding (6S) For demonstrating great empathy, sensitivity and initiative when supporting his peers. We already know he is the best big brother to Poppy (little sister) but also demonstrates this caring and reliable nature in all that he does. It is very much noticed and appreciated.
Sebastian Woods (6S) For taking initiative, teaching Mrs James how to create a multiplication machine and then confidently sharing his programming skills with his maths class. Phoenix Stromgren and Vasily Uskov (5C) For creating an engaging and stimulating online game that challenged and inspired a group of Year 4 students. Rocco Freedman (5C) Art: For an excellent piece of work based on James Rizzi of a city scene. Rory Walker (5C) Integrity knows no boundaries! For showing integrity, when the pressure was on, in a recent football fixture. Well done to those boys!

The boys were lucky to have a visit from the renowned author SF Said on Thursday, here are a few picture’s taken from his visit:

Pre-Prep News

Instilling the importance of supporting those in need and less fortunate than ourselves is a very important part of what we do here at Hampton Pre-Prep and Prep, and it is something that has featured heavily in the last two weeks in school.  Firstly, as promised last week, I must give you an update about the amount raised for Children in Need – I am delighted to announce we will be sending £115 off to this hugely important charity and would like to thank you so much for your kindness and generosity.

Thursday saw our first ever ‘Book Swap’, which our School Councillors organised in aid of Save the Children. You will have noticed that this year, we have reversed the order of our support – we are starting with an international charity first and next term will support a national charity.  In the summer term, it will be the turn of a local charity.  For some background about this decision, it was very important for us to back Save the Children this term in order to support a former Pre-Prep pupil, Theo (Year 4), whose lion award is geared towards generating funds this worthy cause.  Theo has signed up to a project organised by GSK to double the money raised – an update about the amount will follow next week.

Save the Children works tirelessly to support children around the world and in the UK, helping them to stay safe and healthy, and supporting them to learn, grow and become who they want to be. For a century, they have stood up for children to make sure their voices are heard and their needs are addressed.  The charity leads the way on tackling problems like pneumonia, hunger and protects children in war torn areas of the world – making sure each child’s unique needs are cared for.  Once again, we thank you for your support.

We were delighted to award a number of ‘Space Chase’ Summer Reading Challenge 2019 certificates in assembly yesterday.  Many congratulations to the following children all in Year 1: Thomas, Viaan, Theo, Tommy and Noah.

Noah also received Learn to Swim Stage 3 – very well done!

We also congratulated William (Year 2) for receiving a judo trophy in recognition of how well he listens to this teacher and for following the moves well – good effort, William!


Today, the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Thiyaan (Year 2) for always coming in to school with a cheery smile and a ‘ready-to-go’ attitude.

and Stars of the Week to:

Year 2: Edward and Jonny for working brilliantly as a pair during an English lesson this week – they were excellent role models.

Year 1: Henry for always working his very best in class.

Reception: Zac for his super writing about the story ‘Dear Zoo’.

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

We have enjoyed reading ‘The Gingerbread Man’ this week in Kindergarten. We have read lots of different versions of this traditional tale, noticing how the beginning of the story varies, sometimes it’s the little old man who bakes the Gingerbread, whilst other times it’s the little old woman. We also spotted that the characters vary from book to book, but the ending is always the same – the sly old fox ‘snaps’ the gingerbread man all up!

We enjoyed making gingerbread scented playdough; it smelt so delicious we had to be mindful that it was playdough and not real gingerbread! We also painted pictures of the gingerbread man for our wall display.

There was an element of excitement on Thursday as we set off to the local bakery in search of Gingerbread Reindeer that we heard were so tasty. We each had own money to take care of and went into the shop to ask for a reindeer.  These were then packed into a paper bag and we carried them very carefully back to school. Though tempted to have just a tiny nibble, we saved them for home time. The staff in the shop said that we were very polite and had fantastic manners. Well done, Kindergarten!

Liz Searle, the School Nurse visited us this week with a handwashing activity.  We talked about the importance of hygiene and handwashing and, in particular, the fact that we must wash our hands after going to the toilet. Liz told us that we cannot see the germs on our hands and, although, they look clean, there are in fact lots of invisible germs.  She had some magic potion that we rubbed onto our hands. We then put our hands underneath a special ultraviolet light and this showed us all the germs still on our hands, even though we couldn’t see them. We then washed our hands very well, following the order of rinse, soap, rub front and back and thumbs, rinse and dry, before putting them back under the light to see if they had gone.  How surprised were we to find that we had not managed to wash them away – of course, we rewashed them once more!

This week Reception enjoyed reading the much loved flap book, ‘Dear Zoo’ by Rod Campbell and relished lifting flaps to reveal different animals. We all got a surprise as we retold the story with pretend zoo and wild animals, and the boys enjoyed sharing fun facts and reasons for either keeping or returning the animals to the zoo! Fabulous illustrations accompanied their individual written pages for our class story book – they particularly enjoy attaching a flap on their crate to hide their chosen animal.  Lion collages with mixed media and small world play in a zoo tray have complemented our work – some interesting discussions have been overheard about which wild animals could live together and the different habitats they live in.

In mathematics this week, we have been learning to tell the time using o’clock and have been learning about days of the week, as well as discussing differences between day and night. The boys had great fun putting together clock faces and testing each other whilst playing our class ‘Big Ben says’ game.

Year 1 enjoyed reading and retelling the story of The Gingerbread Man in English this week. We read the story together as a class, thinking carefully about the phrase repeated throughout the story. The children then wrote their own versions of The Gingerbread Man, using their imagination to come up with different animals that could be chasing him. Year 1 filled their marble jar – so they thoroughly enjoyed a Gingerbread Man as their treat!

In maths, we have been looking at how to divide a shape in half, learning that it has to be two equal parts. We divided cupcakes into 2 and then divided our own paper pizzas into 2, placing different toppings on each side.

In science, we spoke about how we are all different, looking carefully at eye colour and we then produced a class pictogram to show the different eye colours in Year 1.  Please do email Mrs Doyle a photo of your pet if you have one in readiness for our lesson next week.

Year 2 have been enjoying the Kenyan story ‘Mama Panya’s Pancakes’ in English this week. The boys thought carefully about how the main characters were feeling at different points of the story and used thought bubbles to show this. Children were invited up to read the story to the class and it was lovely to see them reading clearly and expressively to their peers. Today the children have tackled some comprehension questions about the text and spent some time going through the different styles of questions and how to answer them. We have also been learning about adverbs this week and how they add more detail to our writing. Next week, we will be making Mama Panya’s Pancakes and writing the instructions, too.

In maths, we have had a short break from multiplication and division and have been revising shapes in the form of patterns, position and direction. The children have learnt how to read co-ordinates and give directions using positional language. Next week, we will be returning to multiplying and dividing with 10.

This afternoon saw the start of an exciting project we have begun in topic – an African lap book. The boys will be adding to these over the next couple of weeks with the information that they learn in lessons and through research. We have been busy practising touch typing, sorting man-made and natural materials and having brilliant discussions about our new Mrs Wordsmith words. We particularly focused on the word ‘ambitious’ and what this means.  Having thought about their own life ambitions, here are some of their ideas…‘to design and build the tallest building in the world!’ and ‘to be an amazing dad one day’.

Have a great weekend!

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster