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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 18

This Week

Dear Parents,

Our assembly theme of perseverance draws to a close today, and there was no finer way for us to do that than to have Mr Salt and the boys in 6S share their views. It was amazingly high-level stuff! I was so impressed with how the boys highlighted the importance of the deliberate changes we can make to our mood, how such changes increase our dopamine levels and consequently how that can help us all to persevere.

I was also very glad to see Mr Salt draw inspiration for the boys in his Form from aspects of his previous professional life – before he made the correct decision to chuck all that in and become a school teacher! One of the best things we can do at the start of each day is, apparently, make our bed. It will stand as evidence of having accomplished something positive the minute we get up, it helps us to focus our minds on what remains to be accomplished during the course of the day and if it has all turned to custard, as some of our days inevitably do, at least we have a nicely, well-made bed to climb into when we get home!

On Tuesday seven of our boys from Years 4 – 6 attended the annual Epsom College Preparatory Schools’ Strings Day. The aim of this musical event was to bring boys and girls from various schools together and enjoy creating some excellent music. During the day, the 135 string players spent many hours rehearsing five different pieces of music on a selection of instruments: the violin, viola and cello. The theme of the day was music from films and all the children’s hard work culminated in a fantastic musical concert performing tracks such as the James Bond Theme through to Hedwig’s Theme, all for the parents and teachers who had gathered. The boys were very well behaved and although returned home tired, they thoroughly enjoyed the day and we would all like to thank the staff at Epsom College, in particular the enthusiastic, energetic conductor – it certainly sounded like a ‘razzamatazz’ laden event!

Safer Internet Day (SID) took place earlier this week as well – it is a day organised by the joint Insafe/INHOPE network, with the support of the European Commission and takes place each February to promote both the safe and positive use of digital technology amongst children and young people. We were delighted to welcome Peter Cowley, ICT and Online Safety Advisor from the Local Authority, back to Hampton Pre-Prep & Prep on Tuesday to deliver a series of talks to the older pupils in support of this important day. We aim to work very much in partnership with you as parents, regarding how to teach the pupils here to remain safe whilst online. Mrs Murphy and Mrs Tinkler will be sending out the Spring Term Safeguarding letter after the break with information to help you support your child in this respect at home.

The boys in Year 5 enjoyed their step back in time on Thursday as they visited the Reading Museum. The focus of their visit was to experience life as a Victorian pupil, and they certainly looked the part as they headed off from the Prep in their excellent costumes. More lovely music on Thursday too, here at the Prep, as we had boys taking part in our Pupils’ Informal Concert for this half term. Colleagues present noted to me that it really is remarkable to see the progress the boys make with their instruments, especially if we know they were complete beginners back in September.

Tim Smith


Sports News

I find it hard to believe that we are already half way through the rugby season. I think the disruption at the start of the term has possibly made seem shorter but regardless it has been very busy.

The past seven days have been no exception. Last Friday every single boy in Years 3 and 4 played in a fixture at home against Newland House and Willington respectively. On Monday all the boys in Year 6 went on the long journey to Wetherby Prep, who play their fixtures in East Acton. On Tuesday all the boys in Year 4 hosted Wetherby Prep with a handful of Year 3 boys travelling to them. On Wednesday more then half of the Year 5 and Year 6 boys played against TPS and today sees all the boys in Year 3 compete against Willington.

This alone, I think, means we all deserve a rest next week. Carlisle Park certainly needs one. We’ve only been back out there a week, but storm Ciara and the relentless rain Wednesday night has meant it is once again very soggy and muddy. Therefore, I apologise in advance for the washing that the parents of the Year 4 boys will invariably need to do after today’s games session.

The year 6 and year 4 boys certainly had a tough task when taking on Wetherby this week. The school has over 300 boys in Years 3-8 and so there are plenty of boys to pick from. In the Year 6 game that I saw, we certainly gave them a run for their money and for the majority of the game there was only one try in it. The Hampton Prep boys played their own style of rugby and showed they had been listening to me and the tactics I have been trying to employ with them. We weren’t always able to produce the goods but it is a sign of progress and maturity that they are displaying an ability to follow a pattern and style of play. Something that will become really important for all of them, should they wish to go on and play at a higher level in whatever sport they choose to pursue.

The Year 4 team I took against Wetherby had a tougher time and they learned the hard way what can happen if you don’t get your technique right when tackling. As I have mentioned before in my bulletins, I am well aware that tackling is counter intuitive. Therefore, it is no surprise to see some of the boys reluctant to use their shoulder and arms and instead try to make tackles just using their hands. The problem is, it is not very effective, so we are going to have to keep working hard at it in training. Hence the muddy kit today!

I didn’t get to see the U10s this week but Mr Salt told me they performed really well in training and what he was most pleased about was their calmness and composure. The funny thing about rugby that despite all its bluster and ‘aggression’ you will only be effective either individually or as a team if you are have a clear head and make intelligent decisions. I remember listening to Will Greenwood the former England Centre and World Cup winner telling a story about a conversation that he was having with a former special forces soldier. The former soldier asked him what it was like in the changing rooms before an England match, assuming there would be lots of noise and ‘psyching up’ going on. However, Greenwood spoke of how the changing room was always really quiet and calm because anything else would have meant that the players would be in the wrong frame of mind by kick off and poor decisions would be made.

This approach also requires an advanced level of maturity and why Mr Salt was so delighted with how the U10 boys had displayed it in their match against TPS.

There is no let up after half term and the first week back sees a fixture for every single age group, some two (the U8s) and a Saturday tournament for the U10s. There will also be a presentation on the Tuesday evening for the parents of the boys picked to go on the U10 rugby tour, so note this down uif that applies to you.

Until then, have a great weekend and a relaxing half term.

Nick Darmon

Head of PE and Games

Prep News

Year 5 had a fantastic Victorian trip to the reading Museum on Thursday this week here is a few picture from their day:

In assembly this week Headmaster’s commendations were awarded to Edward White (3L), Alfie Linehan (3W) Aron Drishti (4C) For completing another Reach for the Stars voyage demonstrating continued effort and progress in reading, spelling and multiplication tables. Jay Aragon and Lucas Woods (4C), Fred Owen and Sebastian Wright (4W) For creating fantastic and very accurate French posters on their siblings and pets. Oscar Gilbert (3H) For applying great effort whilst P.E.E (ing!) in Humanities. Demonstrating a deep understanding of Aztec daily life using relevant evidence and more importantly being able to justify how this evidences supports the point he is trying to make. Well done Oscar- you really have impressed me with your very clever thinking. Theo Payne (3H) For fantastic energy and enthusiasm in Humanities using his astute detective skills to draw sensible conclusions about what life would have been like in the Ancient Aztec City, Tenochtitlan. More importantly to me, Theo completes his work in a very cheerful manner and goes above and beyond to impress me….Please know Theo I notice this! Well done to those boys!

Pre-Prep News

In support of Safer Internet Day on Tuesday, children in Kindergarten to Year 2 took part in sessions to raise awareness about online safety. I wonder if they can tell you some of the things they need to do in order to keep safe in this respect – do ask them!

Recently you will have received a letter about forthcoming World Book Day celebrations on Thursday 5 March. All children should come in to school dressed as a character from their favourite book (do bring along said book for us to enjoy and share on the day).  Also, if you could write a letter to your child about your favourite childhood book that would be much appreciated! Please refer to the letter about this event for full details.

I know Mr Smith very recently sent out a reminder to all parents about parking considerately in the local area surrounding the School, I think it is timely for me to also remind parents about the yellow zig zag lines outside Pre-Prep.  It has come to my attention that this area is being used more and more frequently as a drop off zone.  This is most definitely not the purpose of such lines – essentially, they are for the safety of the children, giving drivers a clear view around schools where children, or indeed other pedestrians, could be coming on to the road.  Roads, such as Wensleydale, where cars are often parked on both sides also mean the zig zags allow a suitable passing place for other vehicles. Parked cars on the zig zags hamper this and, furthermore, exacerbate the congestion on the road and, in turn, pose a safety threat to the children.  Please do consider very carefully where you park both at the beginning and end of the school day – it really does impact on the safety of the children.  Likewise, keeping engines running is neither good for the environment nor small children who are naturally much closer to the nasty fumes when cars idle, so please do switch off your engines.


In assembly this week, we celebrated successes in gymnastics by Arthur (Year 1) and Alfie (Year 1), both boys received a medal for demonstrating super handstands and cartwheels – well done!

This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Ronak (Year 1) for always being super polite to both adults and children in the School, and for also having a big smile on his face.

Stars of the Week went to:

Year 2: Arthur for his improved handwriting! He has been working hard to reduce the size of it.

Year 1: Noah for excellent all round effort with his classwork this week.

Reception: Jack for his fantastic writing about ‘Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs’.

Many congratulations to Edward (Year 2), George (Year 1), Avyan (Year 1), Arav (Year 1), Zac (Reception) and Ralph (Reception).  As you know, recipients of the rainbow award are placed in to the draw for a special ‘rainbow’ tea party.


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

On Monday in Kindergarten, Mrs Tomkins brought in the skin from her son’s corn snake, which had been shed over the weekend; the children were fascinated to see it, especially the head, where you could clearly see the eye sockets!

‘Safer Internet Day’ was on Tuesday and we read a story about a dog called Buddy who helped his owner Ben stay safe when he was on his tablet.  Along the way, we discussed the importance of keeping safe online – for example, never download or click onto something that’s unfamiliar and ALWAYS tell a grownup if something different pops up.  We sang a song called ‘ask a grownup’ and by singing this catchy number we remembered how to stay safe online.

Our week primarily centred on the book, ‘Whatever Next’ by Jill Murphy. The story told us about a baby bear who made a rocket using a box.  Suddenly …“whoosh” and the bear in the box flew up the chimney to visit the moon. Along the way he made friends with an owl and together they enjoyed a picnic on the moon.

We loved it so much we read it many times over and even retold it in the correct sequence. Together, we wrote a list of the things we would pack if ever were to venture to the moon and then had a go at writing our own lists in the writing area.  As a whole class, we had fun ‘hot seating’ baby bear. Using our imagination and memory skills from the story, we proffered questions to baby bear such as, “was the moon hot or cold?”, “did you want to stay on the moon, or come home, and why?” and “were there any plants or trees on the moon and, if not, why?”

In maths, we concentrated on the concept ‘one more than’.  Borrowing the washing line and the pants from the alien pant shop, we had great fun counting pants to reinforce this idea … and there were a lot of them to count!

We have experimented with colour mixing – using the primary colours: red, blue and yellow, we had great fun using cotton buds to mix them up to create secondary colours.

On Friday, we were feeling the love! We had a big discussion about friendships and how important our friends are and, more importantly, how to be a good friend. We got into a circle and, in turn, chose to tell a friend what we like best about them – everyone had a turn. Then it was time to get creative making valentines cards for family members, friends and even the teachers!

Our topic after half term is Fairy tales.

This week, Reception have gone back in time to the Jurassic period! We have read information books about dinosaurs to learn interesting facts about these incredible creatures.  We have also read stories about dinosaurs including Harry and his bucketful of dinosaur’s book series – the boys wrote about their favourite parts using a story word map.

The boys enjoyed being palaeontologists studying in our Dinosaur Investigation Station. They began the week making and measuring salt dough bones. Donning gloves and magnifying glasses to explore ‘dinosaur dung’ to find out what the dinosaur had eaten – whether they were herbivore, carnivore or omnivore.  They also loved carefully digging and brushing out bones and fossils from the dirt and sand.

Reception were excited to help Mrs O’Brien build a papiermâché volcano, which we set to erupt with a lava made from a mixture of vinegar, dishwashing liquid and baking soda! The boys have also been busy at the making table, creating dinosaur masks and printing colourful dotty dinosaurs.

In mathematics this week, we have been focusing on addition and subtraction, reading number sentences and looking closely at the symbols (+ – =).  We have been using the 100 square for counting and recognising numbers, and counting in 2s and 10s.

Well done to Reception for a wonderful start to the Spring Term – they have all focused and engaged in their learning and we are delighted with their progress. Have a wonderful half term, we shall look forward to hearing all the exciting news and seeing holiday snapshots on our return to school.

We will be learning about Road Safety after half term!


Year 1 have been busy continuing with Pigeon stories this week, reading ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!’ – this led to discussions about contractions, such as I’ll, what’s and it’s. The children then wrote their own versions – some of our particular favourites were ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon eat the Wedding Cake!’ and ‘Don’t Let the Pigeon play Rugby!’

In maths, we have been multiplying by grouping quantities and understanding division through sharing. At the end of the week, we solved simple one-step problems involving division, calculating the answer by using pictorial representations and arrays.

To complement humanities work, Year 1 made carnival masks based on learning about Brazil and had a mini Rio Festival in the classroom to samba music and paraded out to the playground! As you can see from our pictures, we had great fun!

In science, we completed our materials topic by learning all about the history of Lego and how it is made. We then looked at, and described the properties of Lego.

Year 2 had a go at being reporters this week, and wrote newspaper reports about the Queen’s Coronation on Purple Mash. They included some key details and inserted pictures and symbols too. Today, the boys have finished their BBC 500 words stories and they are fantastic! We are excited to get these entered and to find out the results in due course. Our grammar focus for the week has been alphabetical order – they ordered animals alphabetically, using dictionaries to assist them in this task.

This week in maths, we have focused on solving missing number problems that involve multiplication and division. For example, 6 X ? = 12 and 40 ÷ ? = 4. Yesterday, the boys enjoyed working with their learning partner to solve a number of different problem-solving questions that required knowledge of the multiplication tables. This week’s challenges have been all to do with balancing equations, such as 3 X 5 = 10 + ? and they have done a great job at working these out.

In science, the boys sorted electrical and non-electrical items and then discussed which electrical items are powered by battery and which by mains power. In computing, the children learnt how to insert a picture into a Word Document and make simple edits to this. They are becoming quite competent on Microsoft Word now!

Have a super half term – we look forward to seeing you back at school on Monday 24 February.


headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster