Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 13
It has been great fun catching up with the boys this week, hearing about all manner of exciting trips and activities they enjoyed over the holidays and how lucky they were to have been so carefully considered by the Jolly Man in the Big Red Suit!
We have had a calm and yet purposeful start to the term here, and I am very glad about that. Our assembly theme this half term is the word ‘perseverance’. I introduced it on Wednesday in my assembly by highlighting yet again our expectations for all the boys here, when it comes to working hard in lessons and working hard at maintaining positive, cheerful and supportive relationships with their friends and us. Mrs Grove followed this up in her moving assembly this morning, with a very honest account of how important it is to consider carefully the judgments of others. She made the point that if we listened to all the naysayers we come across in life, we would perhaps never be willing to make any progress at all! Mrs Grove helped us all to realise that perseverance is as much about using others’ encouragement to help us along and to try again, as it is about casting aside the irrelevant and sometimes downright unkind observations of others, which could of course really hold us back if we let them.
Further to this point, I also explained to all the boys this morning how important it is to be supportive of the Year 6 fellows this term, as they wade through their exams and wait for their all-important results. All boys will have a school to go to come September, and we will celebrate in our own low key way all outcomes, as they are confirmed. It is very important to me that the boys are quietly proud of their own achievements and mindful of being proud and happy for their friends when they finally know which Senior School they will be attending. As a community we expect nothing less from everyone and if parents of Year 6 boys could emphasise this at home I would be especially grateful.
I am very much of the opinion that effective education rests primarily upon the relationships that exist between teachers and pupils, not upon those that exist between pupils and machines. As parents you may have some awareness however of the increasingly different ways in which ‘Artificial Intelligence’ is being used in schools not only here in the UK but in all sorts of school systems on a global scale. After much careful thought, discussion and research over recent months I am delighted we have been able to bring some AI-based tech into our School, to use alongside – but not replace – all the other resources we have at our disposal, the teaching staff included!
The evidence I have studied leads me to believe that AI-based learning certainly has great value if and when it is used wisely and with appropriate human oversight. It is also, by my reckoning, here to stay therefore I do not want our pupils and our School to be behind the curve on this. My fears about our boys missing out are greater than my cynicism about machine-led learning!
At the beginning of this week, before the pupils returned, Prep staff were introduced to and trained to use an online learning platform produced by CENTURY Tech during one of our staff professional development sessions. You will likely see over the shoulder of your boy one of the CENTURY Tech tasks being completed for prep very soon. Do please have a look at their website if you wish to find out more: https://www.century.tech/
Have a great New Year ahead!
The new Spring Term CCAs will commence as of Monday, you should have received an email from Mrs Parkinson confirming the activities your son has been allocated this term. Please remember to check the timetable carefully as they may change after half term when the outdoor activities start.
2020 – a new year, a new decade and how exciting to get a new term underway! A very warm welcome back to school; it has been great catching up with the children hearing all their holiday news and it’s clear batteries have been well and truly re-charged over the break.
The idea of making new resolutions for the year ahead has been a topic of discussion here in school this week. Not surprisingly, along with it, the word for this half-term ‘perseverance’ has cropped up a number of times – we will be returning to this theme over the next few weeks.
In yesterday’s assembly, our new House and Vice Captains for the Spring Term were announced and Mr Smith distributed the badges to the new officers. They are as follows:
Red: Freddie (House Captain) and Yusuf (Red Vice Captain)
Yellow: Rishi (House Captain) and Robert (Vice Captain)
Green: Aryan (House Captain) and Emin & Mylo (Vice Captains)
Blue: Krishi (House Captain) and Ani (Blue Vice Captain)
Many congratulations to Aubin (Year 1) for achieving 15m distance award in swimming. We were also thrilled to see his special Sports Blue Peter Badge, gained having taken up surfing last year – very well done! Also in Year 1, well done to Ronak for gaining his Learn to Swim Level 3 and Alfie for completing the 5K Santa Fun Run. In Year 2, Jonny was awarded with his medal for winning a slalom race whilst skiing this winter and Callum with his new red judo belt having successfully completed the appropriate grading. Well done to all recipients!
A ‘beginning of term’ letter was sent out at the start of the week, if you have not received a copy do contact the School Office. In the letter, mention was given to the subject of school uniform, as towards the end of last term, we observed considerable deviation from regulation items of clothing. In particular, a wide variety of winter hats were worn to and from school in the build up to the festive season. However, as per my beginning of term letter, I should like to remind everyone that school regulation hats are available from the school shop. If you are having difficulty sourcing the appropriate size, your child may wear a plain navy hat in the interim period.
Given the shortness of the week, all other awards, namely Courtesy and Stars of the Week, will begin again next week.
Please see below for the class weekly round-up.
It has been a great first week of the new year. The children have all enjoyed being back at school and settled straight back into the routines of Kindergarten.
To celebrate the new year, we watched the firework display that was shown in London on New Year’s Eve, we were amazed at how many fireworks were set off and marvelled at the beautiful colours and enjoyed swaying to the music. We talked about how many grown-ups set new year’s resolutions/ promises and decided that we too could set our own goals by making a new year wish. We thought hard about what we would like to achieve this year and each wrote our wish onto a star – we have hung them in our classroom.
We have enjoyed playing number and shape games on our new whiteboard. We had to match shapes dragging them into a monster’s mouth.
Mr Smith visited us on Wednesday and read us the story “How to catch a Star”. We listened carefully and answered his questions thoughtfully.
It is quite cold in Kindergarten as we play in the igloo role-play area with polar animals. We continue to explore polar animals next week, as well as discussing Winter and Ice.
We have had a great start to 2020 in Reception. The children have come back to school well rested and full of stories of the most wonderful Christmas holidays. They all seem to have grown a few centimetres and returned to class focused and ready for learning; we are so impressed, well done Reception!
We have been busy creating beautiful winter pictures this week – bare, spiky trees using charcoal and white chalk on pale blue paper. We have talked about the seasons and looked carefully at our outside environment to notice changes to the world around us – many of the children are hoping for snow this month!
We all wrote special New Year Promises – you’ll be pleased to know that lots of the boys promised to help more around the home. We do hope that you see plenty of these promises in action – do let us know! In mathematics, we sang songs about the days of the week and months of the year, and worked hard to put these in the correct order.
Our topic next week is Winter.
Year 1 have returned to school with renewed enthusiasm and vigour! We have been so impressed by the way in which the boys have settled straight back into school life and really appear ready to work hard for the new term ahead.
In English, we enjoyed listening to the story Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema and then discussing the African animals from the story. The boys created their own flow charts to retell the story, focusing on recalling the descriptive vocabulary from the text.
In maths, we have been learning about money, spending time handling coins and working out different ways of making totals. We learnt that an item costing ten pence can be paid for by two 5p coins, one 10p coin, ten 1p coins, and more ways besides! We have been ordering coins from smallest to greatest value and, in two weeks’ time, we are very much looking forward to setting up our very own Hampton Pre-Prep shop where the children will be able to use toy money to purchase real items at the shop, what fun!
In science, we have begun our topic on materials and the children have been excited to explore various items around the classroom, thinking about their properties and making guesses about the material they are made from. They demonstrated excellent vocabulary when approaching this task – we were very impressed.
Year 2 have a had a busy first few days of the Spring term! In English they wrote recounts about their Christmas holidays, revising their knowledge of co-ordinating conjunctions (and, but, or). Today they enjoyed the story ‘The Queen’s Knickers’ by Nicholas Allan and retold the story in their own words, with a partner. Next week, they will be continuing with this text as a focus for their English work. Some of the activities they will be doing involve designing a pair of knickers for the Queen and creating a ‘Missing’ poster for her lost knickers’ suitcase!
In maths, we have been focusing on number. The children learnt how to partition 2-digit numbers into different combinations. For example: 35 could be partitioned as 3 tens and 5 ones, 2 tens and 15 ones, 1 ten and 25 ones etc. The boys have also been using ‘Charlie Crocodile’ (< >) to compare numbers and calculations. Next week they will be practising their addition and subtraction skills, focusing on the links between these two operations.
In computing, the boys have been independently turning on the laptops, logging in and locating ‘Word’. They created a page of their choice using different size/style/colour fonts and adding page borders, shapes and changing the colour of the page. In Humanities, the boys learnt what it means to be a Monarch and discussed what rules they would have in place if they were to be King! We are all really looking forward to our trip to Windsor Castle later this month.
We hope you have a great weekend.