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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 15

This Week

Dear Parents,

What a week it has been for our continued study of the notions surrounding and directly connected to ‘perseverance’, our assembly theme for this half term!

On Monday morning in assembly I talked to the boys in the Prep about a lifetime ambition I managed to fulfil over the recent holidays. I visited the Scrovegni Chapel, in Padua in north west Italy, and was every bit as awed by the beauty of Giotto’s frescoes as I had speculated I would be. The frescoes on the walls of the chapel appeared as beautiful and breath taking to me as I imagine they must have appeared to the patron who commissioned Giotto to paint them, more than 700 years ago. Giotto’s work is considered one of the true wonders of western art; a whistle stop skip through the birth of the Renaissance notwithstanding, the main lesson I emphasised to the boys was that it was partly due to his perseverance and determination that Giotto painted in a new way, thus setting the journey of art history off in a different direction.

Be brave enough to start something new and be strong enough to keep going” was the clear message from the boys in 5C this morning in assembly, ably assisted by Mr Chilcott. The entire performance had his strong imprint all over it, and I am very glad about that! The freedom individual teachers have here over influencing the development of the boys’ characters is very important to me. There is no one size fits all approach to pretty much anything at our School (“two claps!” and “three claps!” being the possible only exception!)

The boys in 5C linked the words below to their exploration of perseverance and I thought it might be helpful for you to see them at home, in case you wished to follow up with your boys what they mean to you and them:

Persevering is all about…


  • Dedication
  • Determination
  • Diligence
  • Endurance
  • Grit
  • Stamina
  • Tenacity


Our Junior Travel Ambassadors (JTAs) in Year 5 presented to us in assembly on Wednesday. It was very useful to have a reminder from them on what we might do to reduce car journeys to and from school. Please consider if there might be parents you could team up with to create a car pool to reduce individual journeys, for instance. You will have seen today that I shared with you the newsletter I sent to neighbours regarding, amongst other things, traffic and parking. This has prompted one parent to get in touch already this afternoon to explain that recently a neighbour accidentally dinged her car (quite substantially!) Fortunately, neither party fell out over it; do please come to me if you have ever experienced any similar episodes.

On Thursday, Year 4 travelled to London on their History trip to see Sir Francis Drake’s famous flagship ‘The Golden Hinde’. Despite the typically cold January weather, there was a certain burning excitement among the boys as they clambered aboard the towering vessel. Once upon the ship, the boys took part in various activities in order to experience life aboard a 16th century warship. This included re-enacting scenes from the ship’s voyages, with Aron Drishti and Archie Skinner earning particular praise for their theatrical adaptation of the trial of the mutinous Thomas Doughty. This was soon followed by a tour of the ship and the practice firing of an Elizabethan Cannon. Will Meehan and Thomas Denbigh showed great agility and strength in moving the ship’s cannons in cramped conditions. The low ceilings proved particularly troublesome for some of the taller parents and members of staff with a few cries as heads bumped into door frames or overhead beams! Overall, the trip greatly improved the boys’ understanding of the awful conditions in which the sailors persevered during their three-year circumnavigation of the world, with many boys remarking that ‘school wasn’t so bad after all’ when they discovered that boys as young as five worked 12 hours a day on board!

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith


Sports News

We have finally managed to get some rugby under our belts this week. For this we need to thank Twickenham RFC, who have kindly allowed us to use their pitches. All being well Carlisle Park will re-open next week, so we can get back on track with training and matches.

Last week we also managed to play our U9 fixture away against Bishopsgate School. We have been spending the weeks leading up to this first game teaching the boys how to tackle and then develop their confidence in doing so.

It’s a little bit too long ago for me to remember, but I am sure those first few weeks of being introduced to tackling are daunting ones. It’s very unnatural and counter intuitive to drop your head in and around the knobbly knees of some one running towards you. Therefore, it is perfectly understandable that some boys find the whole process a little tricky to get the hang of. For teachers, other than instructing the technique and providing lots of drills that allow the boys to practise, it is not something we can do much about. Generally, for most boys one day they just get it and then there is no stopping them.

On Friday I took the U9 C team and I was delighted with their attitude and their overall performance. More than anything they were organised and so clearly had been listening in games lessons. This resulted in a fantastic game that ended in a draw. A fair result considering the efforts of both teams. The feedback was the same from all the coaches that afternoon and so this was great preparation for their next fixture which was on Tuesday.

This game was at home against St John’s, Merchant Taylor’s in North London. They travel a long way to play us, as they know they will always get four good games and Tuesday was no exception, with wins, draws and losses across the board. This all bodes well for the Year 4s and they get to maintain this momentum today, with a fixture against TPS.

The U8s had their first rugby fixture cancelled last week due to the weather and so they were chomping at the bit to get going. On Tuesday they got their chance when all the boys in the year group were able to turn out against Staines Prep. By all accounts they did extremely well, recording 3 wins and a draw. They get to play again today against TPS also and so I predict we will see them go from strength to strength.

The U11 boys are still yet to play due to the weather but they are all scheduled to play on Monday against Surbiton. For some of the U10s this is also the case but half of the boys played against Bishopsgate on Wednesday. I spoke to Mr Salt upon his return and he told me how impressed he was with both performances and how much he is looking forward to seeing the rest of the boys play on Wednesday when the whole year group pit their wits against Surbiton.

In between, the U9s play against The Mall on Tuesday and both the U8s and U9s finish our week off with another block fixture against Surbiton.

We are attempting to re-arrange the fixtures that we had to cancel last week but with limited space left in the diary this may not be possible. However, if we are successful I will ensure that all the relevant age groups receive an email accordingly.

Have a great weekend.

Prep News

Year 4 set out of Thursday on the first school trip of the term to The Golden Hinde. The Golden Hinde was an English galleon best known for her privateering circumnavigation of the globe between 1577 and 1580, captained by Sir Francis Drake. She was originally known as Pelican, but was renamed by Drake mid-voyage in 1578, in honour of his patron, Sir Christopher Hatton, whose crest was a golden ‘hinde’.

Pre-Prep News

Discussions about perseverance have continued apace in our assemblies and this week started with the story of ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’.  We decided slow and steady, together with perseverance wins the day hands down. Interesting facts about hares were discovered along the way – I wonder if your child will recall what we found out?  Towards the end of the week, we took inspiration from several very successful and influential people, who despite many knocks and setbacks persisted with their goals.  Perseverance is the trait that allows us to dust ourselves off and get back to it! Walt Disney apparently received 302 rejections and was even fired from his first job because “he lacked imagination” and his cartoons were deemed not good enough – just think, if he had not persisted favourite childhood films and cartoons might never have existed.

Mr Smith awarded George (Year 1) with the first Virgin Future Flyers Badge, which he gained for taking control of an aeroplane simulator.  How exciting – well done!


This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Emin (Year 2) whom Mrs Doyle selected for displaying  beautiful manners; he stood back to allow her to pass through a doorway first.

Stars of the Week went to:

Year 2: Rishi for his enthusiasm and hard work during our science lesson this week.

Year 1: Sam for outstanding all round effort and excellent reading progress.

Reception: Sarp for working so hard in all lessons, especially our topic work – well done!

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

It has been a ‘spacetastic’ week in Kindergarten. We have learned lots of interesting facts about the eight planets in our Solar System – some are made from gas, rock or ice. We found out that there is only one sun that all of the planets orbit and that comets are made from ice and, when they travel towards Earth, they begin to melt and break away and it is this that causes the shooting star effect. We were amazed to find out that planet Earth has 1 moon, and some of the other planets have their own moons but Jupiter has the most at 67! We watched a video clip of a real astronaut called Tim Peeke.  When he was in his space shuttle, he squirted some water from his water bottle and it turned into floating ball because there is no gravity in space. We have enjoyed reading some fiction and non-fiction space related books that the children brought in from home.

Using balloons, glue and newspaper, we made papier-mâché planets and, when they dried, they became hard and we painted them the same colour as the planets and remembered to make the sun and moon.  We drew planets using chalk, oil pastels and charcoal to create some great masterpieces!

As a group we made ‘space jelly’. First, we needed to weigh out 200g of jelly crystals and then we measured out 2 pints of boiling water and carefully Mrs Tomkins mixed it together until the crystals melted. Then came the exciting part, we had space dust that we gently tipped into the jelly and watched how it swirled into the red jelly. We thought that it looked more like the red planet Mars. We then needed to work out how we could make this jelly liquid turn into a solid, we agreed it needed to go somewhere cold – one of the children suggested “go to Neptune”, which is in fact the coldest planet as it’s made of ice. As it would take us approximately 12 years to reach Neptune, we decided that the fridge would be the next best thing. We were very excited to find that our plan worked – the liquid had turned into more of a wobbly jelly solid.

Our topic next week is Chinese New Year.

This week Reception have been exploring the world using our five senses. The children learnt in detail how each one works, taking part in some exciting experiences to enhance our understanding of each sense. We had the opportunity to experience drawing with a blindfold to explore what life may be like without sight. We talked about the variety of tastes and had the chance to taste sweet jam, bitter dark chocolate, salty crisps and sour lemon.  The children discussed their favourites and described each food. We also ‘taste tested’ a variety of crisps and guessed the flavours. Following this experiment, we carried out a survey about favourite flavours and turned this information into a tally chart.  We decoded this information to find out which was the most popular, least popular and asked questions about how many people liked each flavour.

The children also experimented with pestle and mortars in the tuff tray, grinding herbs into water to enjoy the different aromas of each one – we investigated basil, rosemary, mint and thyme.

Friday morning was tremendous fun as we used the sense of hearing to listen a range of music – from Indian bhangra, Irish river dance, Chinese flutes, jazz to classical.  We responded using our bodies, not only dancing but drawing, too.  Some wonderful, expressive dancing was observed and it was such a fun way to end our busy week!

We, too, will be celebrating Chinese New Year next week.

Year 1 have been learning about traditional tales in English this week. At the beginning of the week, they listened to the story ‘Dragon Dinosaur’ and then having chosen their favourite part, discussed it with a friend. Afterwards, they wrote a sentence and drew a picture about their chosen part.  We spoke about the different tales we have come across and some of our favourite characters from these. We then wrote about our favourite fairy tale, using the word ‘because’ in our writing.

In maths, we have been looking at 3D shapes. We have named 3D shapes and thought about where we see them in everyday life. Later in the week, we made comparisons between 2D and 3D shapes and began to look at the properties of the different 3D shapes. Next week, we will return to learning about coins and money.

We enjoyed experimenting with magnets this week in science, and next will be investigating magnetic and non-magnetic materials.

Year 2 have loved reading ‘Me, The Queen and Christopher’ this week. The boys retold the story in their own words and described the Queen from the story using some excellent adjectives and descriptive sentences. Today they took part in the BBC 500 Words Live Lesson hosted by Zoe Ball, Rhys Stephenson and Hacker T Dog. The lesson, which went live last week, took the children through the early planning stages of a story. They worked together to plan three different possible stories that focused on different time zones (future, past, present). The competition judges, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Charlie Higson and Francesca Simon, also featured in the lesson, giving their top tips for story writing and advice on how to start their 500 word stories. We will be working on these stories for the next few weeks in class.

Our maths lessons this week have been all about shape – identifying and describing the properties of 2D and 3D shapes, as well as sorting and grouping them in different ways. Next week, we will be moving on to multiplication and division, and looking at the links between them.

This afternoon, the boys have learnt all about the Queen’s Coronation and the crown jewels that are present at the event. Earlier in the week, during science, the children were given the task to light up a bulb, using the equipment given to them. It was great to see them working collaboratively and problem solving how it would work. Some pairs even managed to light up 2 bulbs in one circuit! Next week, they will be learning about conductors and insulators of electricity.

We are all really looking forward to our trip next week to Windsor Castle – perhaps the Queen will be in residence!

Have a super weekend!

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster