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Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 23

This Week

Dear Parents,

Our strange times and our vastly different circumstances continue, but we are doing all we can at Hampton Pre-Prep & Prep to keep a system of school life running in as effective a manner as possible. Thank you so much for your support of your children this week. I know all too well this has not been easy for some of you at times, partly because children are children and they demand much of our energy and attention at the best of times, and partly because we are all adjusting to new ways of working. Our provision will continue to evolve over the coming weeks (and months – if it has to) and Mr Ford, Mrs Murphy and I will be writing to all parents next week outlining how we hope weeks 3 and 4 of the Summer Term will operate.

I have had plenty of feedback come my way regarding how all boys in all Year groups have been adjusting to school life at home this week. Some of the most heart-warming examples have come from Year 5. There was a fantastic footballing video circulated that clever boys and parents managed to put together which made it appear that even though the boys were apart, they could still enjoy a kick about together. My colleagues and I all enjoyed watching that very much!

Rocco Freedman in Year 5 also wanted to do something practical to support NHS workers treating patients with Covid-19 so proposed doing a charity fun run. He invited the boys in Year 5 to join him and more than 20 boys took up the challenge and they have raised over £8000! The boys completed 5k runs on Saturday 18th April from home or outside in line with social distancing rules with great positivity and gusto. Many of them had never completed such a distance before, and it was great to understand how they had encouraged each other, albeit remotely.

Joe Perry, our Head Boy, has also been in touch with me. He wrote me a fantastic and uplifting letter, an excerpt of which I include here as he wished to share his experiences of lockdown thus far in the hope they might help to rally the spirits of his peers – as well as their teachers and parents!

I hope you are all ok and not getting too fed up with all this quarantining and what not? It’s weird not all being together at school so I thought I’d write and let you know how I’ve been getting on. These might not be the best of times but there are some positives I think; for example I am now an experienced Xbox player….. reader! I have learnt how to flick 10 x 2p coins from my elbow into my hands. I can nearly beat my dad at table tennis (a goal I will achieve by the end of lockdown hopefully!), and I can leap over my furniture whilst mopping the floor. I have also been running with my dad and doing lots of bowling practice in the garden because I’m really hoping we will get some of the cricket season after this is over. Anyway, got to go now – things to do…. stay well everyone and I really hope we can get together again soon.

 

In addition to filmed registration messages each morning from form and class teaching staff, members of the senior team have been pre-recording and posting filmed assemblies for the boys on CENTURY this week. We have loved reading (and when they are sent to us as video clips by return, watching) the boys’ responses.

The theme for assemblies this half term is the word ‘heroes’, which seems wholly apt given everyone’s current sequestered domestic arrangements. If any of you are at all like me, perhaps you will be digging deep to locate within yourselves the personal qualities and behaviours you admire in others, in order to help keep yourselves going? Each Thursday evening my neighbours and I come out onto our stoops to applaud the heroes of the NHS. I   live opposite an NHS nurse and her family, and only once has she been off-duty and able to join us all during what I find to be an especially moving experience each Thursday. I have to say, the cheers and whoops and enthusiasm of the applause ratcheted up tenfold when she appeared, as we all acknowledged we had a hero in our midst!

My first degree was in French and on the very rare occasions over the last few weeks when I have had a few moments to spare, I have returned to some of the novels, poems and plays I read as an undergraduate more than 30 years ago now. I mistakenly started my nostalgic literary tour with a novel by Albert Camus. Turns out I had forgotten he had some very grim thoughts and feelings about how a society operates during a global crisis. If you ever intend to take some succour from the mid-twentieth century French philosophers, heed my advice and avoid them!

What Camus did remind me however is that no entirely straightforward direction exists at first when one finds oneself in the middle of a crisis. As a race, we have experienced crises before of course — and that nothing creates a more powerful sense of purpose and belonging than the shared struggle to overcome them.

Stay safe and well,

Tim Smith

Headmaster

Pre-Prep News

After a tough first week back at school, doesn’t it feel good to have the first week under our belts? Being forced to adapt very quickly to new ways of living and working, and juggling working from home with new responsibilities as home school teachers, is hard work and challenging to say the least – it cannot be underestimated how tricky this period will be for all parties! Safe to say it’s a huge learning curve for everyone – children, parents and teachers, too.  One thing is for sure though we are all in this together and will make it work as best as we possibly can, I promise!

On behalf of Pre-Prep staff, I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge THANK YOU for embracing home learning so positively.  Messages received have been so positive and cheerful and, I have to say, we simply love receiving them – so please do keep them coming; it’s keeping us smiling and keeping us going through these difficult times.  A plea from the staff, please would you attach documents to the correct lessons if you possibly can – unravelling documents for twenty-two children is proving a little challenging and time consuming!  My colleagues will respond as soon as they possibly can to any questions or queries, but probably not after 5.00pm on weekdays, or over weekends.

Please enjoy a selection of photographs below that we have received ….

Even though we are apart, we will continue to celebrate birthdays, Stars of the Week and other notable events in the lives of the children during assemblies on Fridays.  As the term progresses, do continue to send in information about any achievements. I understand some clubs continue to operate remotely, for example, Beavers and Kuk Sool Won – we would love to hear about important events and accomplishments.

On that note, I am delighted to report that Rayan (Reception) took part in a grading assessment for Kuk Sool Won online and did particularly well in that he was awarded with his Yellow Stripe belt. His instructor was especially impressed as it is unusual to get this type of belt at first attempt at his age.  Congratulations, Rayan!

Very well done to Arthur (Year 2) who has been learning German with his grandma online during the Easter break – what a great idea, Arthur!

Stars of the Week went to:

Year 2: Arjun for working so well at home this week and for sending through some great pictures and responses to assignments from Miss Page.

Year 1: Theo for completing his remote learning tasks so cheerfully.

Reception: Ralph for his fabulous number work and measuring around the home.

I would say it’s time to stop working now and have a well-deserved break – enjoy the weekend and ‘see’ you on Monday!

headmaster's picture
Tim SmithHeadmaster