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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 21

This Week

Dear Parents,

Given the neck of the woods I am originally from, I have been saying “kia kaha” out loud to anyone who will listen this week. I have also been quietly muttering it under my breath to myself at various points, and I suspect I shall mutter it yet again before the coming months are out. It is a Māori language phrase and its translation is dependent upon the circumstances. If you find yourself about to encounter something tricky, it roughly translates as “be strong”. If you suddenly find yourself in the midst of an unexpected or tricky situation, then it roughly translates as “stay strong”. I have to say, it has been keeping me going. I am explaining it to you now, in the hope that it furnishes you with some similar succour as we all navigate our way through these uncommon and swiftly changing times.

In amongst trying as hard as we could to minimise any disruption to our routine operations this week, ‘generosity’ remained as our theme for assemblies. There was a bit of adaptation required on Wednesday morning, so Mrs Campbell stepped up and immediately called upon the boys in Years 3 – 6 to come to the front of the James Hall in their House Poetry Final teams, ready to recite their poems then and there, without any prior warning! As is typical of our wonderful, self-effacing yet quietly confident boys, there was no question in any of their minds that assembly should not go ahead in this completely unexpected manner.

What happened next has gone down in my own personal annals as a career defining ‘memorable moment’ and I do not say that lightly. After one or two excellent recitations from some of the older boys, Alfie Linehan in Year 3 took centre stage to recite the well-known piece ‘There was an old lady…’. Despite its familiarity for almost all of us, he performed it with such verve and eccentricity, such joy and unbridled hilarity that he soon had the entire audience, boys and staff alike, roaring with tummy-crunching and tears-rolling-down-our-cheeks uncontrollable laughter. This might sound like one of those ‘…perhaps you had to be there..?’ episodes. We certainly needed a good cheering up this week and as a result of Alfie’s spontaneous and delightful performance on Wednesday, boy did we get it!

Mr Henderson and the boys in 3H presented their assembly on our theme this morning, and what a brilliant coincidence this turned out to be. The boys’ performance of an unusual Spanish fairy tale helped us all to remember that generosity is a personal quality that lies deeply and naturally embedded in all of us. 3H then explained it is probably best relied upon when we see others who need a helping hand during a critically important moment.

Kia kaha,


Tim Smith


Pre-Prep News

Putting pen to paper to write this bulletin, it is fair to say it’s been a very different week here at school but I have to say the children have been quite remarkable – resilient and adaptable to all changes that have come their way as the week unfolded.  There’s no doubt we are all in for a tough time ahead but I know we’ll all dig deep and find even greater strength.

Firstly (even though now some while ago), I must thank you all for your tremendous support for World Book Day.  We had such fun here in Pre-Prep and hope you enjoyed seeing the photographs of all the wonderful costumes.  The letters sent in about favourite childhood stories were amazing and well received – a huge thank you for your efforts! It was joyful to see the children’s faces when they received these and, furthermore, interesting to note how many favourites have clearly stood the test of time. I am sure you won’t be surprised to hear popular choices included: The Lion, The Witch and Wardrobe, Paddington stories, The Hobbit and, of course, the many wonderful stories by Roald Dahl.

We would like to say a huge thank you to all of you who purchased books from the Travelling Book Fair.  Just over £200 in book commission was raised for our library stock – THANK YOU!

We have just heard that World Book Online have just made their fabulous collection of over 3,000 e-books and audiobooks freely available for children to access at home – do take a look at what they have to offer by googling World Book Online.  This might be a useful resource whilst access to libraries isn’t so easy in the foreseeable future.

It is possible for you to create a free Oxford Owl account so the children can read books online – you can simply click on the appropriate colour band to access several books – some will be familiar to them from our school selection, but there will also be some new titles.  See link below:

Esther Rantzen suggested a great tip this morning – set up a phone call for your child to read to a loved one over the phone (grandparents, aunts and uncles).  Not only is this important reading practice but will also help to keep up the morale of those in isolation.

A number of our pupils have been extremely patient in waiting for their name to appear in print, so without further ado, I am delighted to share that in the week ending 7 March, awards went to the following children:

The Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Mylo (Year 2) for always greeting the teachers with a cheery, “Hello, how are you?”

Stars of the Week went to:

Year 2: Daniel for always trying his best during learning time.

Year 1: Keyan for his excellent work in English on similes.

Reception: Ayan (2 Stars) for his super story writing.


Batu (Year 2) was awarded with the ‘Knight of the Week’ certificate at his basketball club and Mylo (Year 2) took part in a rugby festival where his team played incredibly well! Caleb (Reception) was awarded with the Seahorse Swimming Award.  Well done to you all!

This week (w/e 20.03.20) the Courtesy Cup and Badge went to Fin (Year 1) for always being extremely polite and helpful.

Stars of the Week went to:

Year 2: Callum (2 Stars) for completing some excellent work on fractions this week!

Year 1: Arith for excellent rhyming work in English.

Reception: Harry (2 Stars) for his super writing of his story, ‘The Little Raindrop’.

Awards were made to the following children in assembly yesterday – Callum (Year 2) received his red belt with yellow stripes for his endeavours in judo and Caleb (Reception) received a medal from his good work at Little Gym – he told us he had to hang off a pole!  Well done, boys.

I am conscious that as we move to remote learning next term, the children’s safety is of paramount importance, therefore, I have reminded the children about safe practices whilst working online. I stressed to the children here in Pre-Prep that they should not be on electronic devices without a parent or responsible adult present and also reiterated key messages from Safer Internet Day back in February.

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster