Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 16

This Week

Dear Parents,

The last day of January, arguably the grimmest month, is finally upon us. Fair to say, we have all persevered through the dark mornings and the equally dark afternoons and evenings but even I have noticed how much lighter it is now, as I zoom back and forth along the A316 between home and school each morning and evening in The Grape, Radio 3 blasting out to keep me company.

A couple of choice quotes from visitors to our School this week, who came to talk to the boys in assembly on our theme of ‘perseverance’. On Monday we were delighted to welcome Mr Cory Lowde, the Headmaster of Box Hill School, who recounted the tale of Robert the Bruce, before demonstrating live (the brave man) his developing prowess with juggling balls. From the ancient Scot’s web-weaving-spider-inspired epiphany to not give up in the face of adversity, Mr Lowde then shared how inspired he was by that story, along with some top technical tips needed to become an expert juggler. His important message came across loud (!) and clear: “…with confidence comes the ease of being able to try something difficult again”.

On Wednesday we welcomed Prep parent Ms Anneliese Day QC into our assembly. Ms Day stepped us through her life journey so far, resulting in her current highly distinguished career in the law. The boys were fascinated not only to see Ms Day dressed up in her very formal legal garb (in which she very kindly appeared), they were equally interested to learn how court room procedure operates and to find out about the details of what being a QC actually involves. Ms Day made it clear that her positive attitudes to her time at school shaped her destiny, however she very wisely concluded her assembly by reminding us all that “…you can be as clever as you like but if you don’t have a personality you can’t easily explain what you know”.

I am very glad we take the development of the pupils’ so-called non-standardised skills seriously at our School. The boys have been jolly lucky to hear from two such diverse speakers, both equally compelling in their own way. Mrs McGuire and Mrs Hynes, the Co-chairs of the Parents’ Association round up our parent speakers, so if you are inspired to come along next term and share your pearls of wisdom we would be delighted to have you! You’ll even get a cup of tea or coffee afterwards and we’ll definitely break out the fancy biscuits.

It was a treat to hear from the boys in 4C this morning, who also picked up on some important aspects of our theme. The boys very wittily explained that Walt Disney and Colonel Sanders (he of a certain internationally well-known fast food chain!) were both defeated at every turn, in different ways, until their perseverance paid off. There was some excellent audience participation for boys, parents and staff present and the overriding message they left us with was that no matter how hard it all becomes and whatever the hurdles are that stand in our way, it is important to remember to “…find your passion and make it happen!

Two teams of our boys spent a nerve-wracking morning this week at the General Knowledge Quiz regional heats. An hour and a half of mind-bendingly difficult random questions tested the mettle of all participants, and throughout our two teams were neck and neck, vying with each other for the top placings. The final moments were telling however, and whilst one team slid below the podium placings, the other took the winner’s spot. Well done to Monty James, Alfie Keller, Sebastian Wright, Nick Senior, Shreyan Kottala, Sena Kelly, Hari Parthipun and Harry Morris; the effort and background reading they all do is immense. Thanks to our parent supporters, who all went home with nails bitten down to the quicks. This does now mean that as a School, we have made it through to the National Finals, to be held at the Dominion Theatre in central London in June!

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith

Headmaster

Sports News

Despite still not being allowed on Carlisle Park it is starting to feel like we are getting some consistency with our rugby season now and all year groups have played in the last week.

Last Friday saw the U8s and the U9s play against TPS whilst this week has seen all the boys in the U11s and the U10s play against Surbiton and all the boys in the U9s played against the Mall. The U9s have a further fixture today against Surbiton.

With all these games going on it is difficult for me to get around and see all the boys perform, but the feedback from the staff has been really positive. As is always the case, it appears the boys are now hitting their straps and we are gaining some really positive momentum.

As with last term we are continuing with our policy of not coaching the boys from the side lines. I have to admit I am finding this more difficult in the rugby season, as so much of the game is based around organisation. Therefore, observing the boys in formations on the pitch during a game that are anything but organised, can cause me to squirm somewhat.

I have to admit the odd piece of ‘advice’ has slipped out. However, id like to remind all parents that we are continuing with this approach and it is down to us as coaches to put things right in the boys training sessions. After that, what will be will be and eventually they will learn……and that is the point. Learning.

As I am sure you all were, I was shocked at the weekend to hear of the tragic death of Basketball great Kobe Bryant, along with 8 other passengers in the helicopter that crashed, one of which was his daughter. I have come across many quotes of his over the past few days all of which have been inspirational but one which I think is really pertinent to our boys relates to not being afraid of failure.

“I don’t mean to sound cavalier when I say that, but never. It’s basketball. I’ve practiced and practiced and played so many times. There’s nothing truly to be afraid of, when you think about it…Because I’ve failed before, and I woke up the next morning, and I’m Ok. People say bad things about you in the paper on Monday, and then on Wednesday, you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’ve seen the cycle, so why would I be nervous about it happening?”

We never want our boys to be afraid of failure as failure is how you learn. This is something that we are constantly trying to get across to them. No one is ever going to criticise them for giving something a go and getting it wrong. Nothing bad will happen and as Bryant says, you will wake up the next day and you’ll be ok. Not trying is the only sure-fire way that you won’t succeed.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Nick Darmon

Head of PE and Games

Prep News

Year 3 had a wonderful morning at their first Reading Cafe! Parents were invited to join the boys to sample a variety of books provided by the library and had a thoroughly enjoyable time doing so.

Also as mentioned in the headmaster’s bulletin, well done to our General Knowledge Quiz Team! For getting through to the National Finals.

 

Pre-Prep News

Sticking with the theme ‘Perseverance’, we took inspiration from several highly successful individuals who stuck tirelessly to their dreams.  Some of them experienced epic failures before their successes – and some even encountered desperately hard times along the way.  Their perseverance, however, enabled them to realise their goals.  The American writer, Elbert Hubbard said, “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” – Do ask your child if they can tell you about some of the successful individuals we have discussed in school this week.

Several awards were made in assembly yesterday.  On the sporting front, certificates went to Fin (Year 1) for playing in the Esher Red Ball Tournament and Miles (Reception) for completing Learn to Swim Stage 1, and Rayan (Reception) received a badge for sparring at Kuk Sool Won. Additionally, Jack (Year1) received his Certificate for Investiture for saying his promise and being invested as a Beaver Scout. Very well done to all!

This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Jack (Reception) for his helpfulness in the classroom – well done, Jack!

Stars of the Week went to:

Year 2: Jonah for his fantastic behaviour on our trip to Windsor Castle – good effort!

Year 1: Aubin for fantastic efforts with his English work and handwriting.

Reception: Ralph for working so hard in mathematics, sorting and counting coins during our money topic.

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

Gong hei fat choy from Kindergarten! We have been learning about and celebrating Chinese New Year all week long. Starting with the well-known story, ‘The Race’, we discovered how each year is named after an animal character from the story.  We thought that the ox would have been first but instead it was the clever rat who managed to cross the river first. We acted out the story using our animal masks, working out who was 1st, 2nd 3rd – in fact, all the way to animal number 12!

We looked at how Mandarin Chinese is written and even wrote our names using the symbols. We decided to try writing some numbers in Chinese using black paint, too. We also made Chinese lanterns and lucky money wallets, as well as some fearsome 3D and 2D dragons.  We searched for information about Chinese New Year on the computer and learned that red is a very lucky colour and gold means wealth. We watched some amazing video clips of the dragon dance and the lion dance. We used the pentatonic scale on the xylophone and, along with the drum, cymbals, tambourine and bells, played music to accompany our own dragon dances using our puppets.

To finish our celebrational and very busy week, we cooked some noodles. First we observed, touched and smelt the noodles before they went in to the boiling water – we noticed how different they were once they came out of the pan. We tried the yummy noodles along with some delicious prawn crackers.

This week Reception have been busy celebrating Chinese New Year, too.  We spoke with the children at length about how Chinese New Year is celebrated, and the traditions and customs which make it such a special festival. We watched some exciting (and very noisy!) video clips of dragon dances.  Inspired by what they had seen, the children made their own paper dragon puppets, and printed with bubble wrap to form parts of a body to create a collaborative Reception Class dragon! We especially had fun making cold noodle salad with Mrs O’Brien on Tuesday. The boys used knives, graters and scissors carefully to prepare the herbs and vegetables and learnt how to use the fork as their ‘friend’ in this task – do ask them how! They then measured out ingredients to make a very tasty dressing.

In literacy, we practised our list writing skills – thinking about using our phonic skills to listen for all the sounds in a word. In our phonic sessions, we learnt the new digraph ‘ie’ and we have been learning to spell some tricky words.

In mathematics, we have focused our learning on money – recognising coins and talking about their values. We have been playing shop – counting out coins to pay for items in our Chinese restaurant.  We had fun using the IPads to play some interactive money-themed games.

Next week, we look forward to learning all about Penguins.

Year 1 read the story of The Three Billy Goats Gruff this week in English. We told the story using puppets and thought of words we could use to describe the characters. On Wednesday, we recapped the story and wrote an alternative ending, thinking especially about capital letters, full stops and using conjunctions. At the end of the week, we drew on our knowledge from last week to write a story beginning, thinking carefully about the phrases we use to begin tradition tales and reminding the children they need to use ‘perfect punctuation’. Next week, we will be reading the story of ‘Don’t let the Pigeon stay up late!’

We had a shop this week in maths, the children thoroughly enjoyed exchanging items for the correct money and later in the week solved simple one-step problems to receive change. We will be counting in 2s, 5s and 10s next week.

In science, Year 1 continued their work on magnets. We used a variety of objects to predict and test whether they were magnetic or not. Who knew that older 10 pence pieces are not magnetic whereas newer version are…!

This week in Year 2 the boys have re-written part of the story ‘Me, The Queen and Christopher’, imagining that they are the ones to be invited to Buckingham Palace to see the Queen. They had to think of what unexpected things might happen and their ideas were fantastic! Some of their ideas included flying lessons, playing football, falling through a trap door and being chased by corgis! The boys have also revised homophones, practising using the correct ones in sentences.

In maths, Year 2 have been learning about how to use arrays to help with multiplication and division. They have been re-writing multiplication statements as repeated addition and recognising the links between multiplication and division.

Yesterday, we embarked on a very exciting visit to Windsor Castle and the boys have written a short piece to tell you what we got up to…

 ‘First, we got on the coach, it was a loooooooooong drive!’ Mylo
‘Then we went to the learning centre to put our bags down’ Aizhou
‘We looked around the castle. We saw the changing of the guards!’ Batu
‘I liked the changing of the guards!’ Yusuf
‘They had big furry black hats.’ Krishi
‘The union flag was flying.’ Jonny
‘The Queen’s flag wasn’t up, because she wasn’t there’ Thiyaan
‘We also went to the chapel, we saw lots of graves and lots of people.’ Ani
‘We saw Queen Mary’s colossal dolls house, I could fit in the rooms!’ Freddie
‘We had a workshop. I was even the Queen!’ Robert
‘I was the person who held the cushion with the crown on top. It was great fun doing that.’ Rishi
‘There were over 900 rooms.’ Jonah
‘We saw a dining table that had 162 seats!’ Wilf
‘Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest castle in England!’ Aryan
‘It was built in the 11th century.’ Emin
‘The castle rooms were beautiful and gold, the ceilings were gold and silver.’ William
‘Wilf spotted the Queen’s thrown first.’ Daniel
‘We saw different flags.’ Callum
‘My favourite part was seeing the private gardens.’ Arjun
‘We saw over 1000 shields.’ Yuchen
‘A few years ago there was a big fire, it took 5 years to rebuild again.’ Arthur
‘At the end of the day we took a school picture, it was fun.’ Edward

Safe to say, a very good time had by all!  A very big thank you to the parent helpers who accompanied us on the outing.

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster