Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 29
It has been excellent for me to keep up with plenty of what the pupils across the School have accomplished through their programme of Guided Home Learning this week, including of course being able to discuss work with the boys in Year 6 who are currently on site. Mrs Murphy has emailed parents of boys in Year 2 with their updated programme of work and Mr Ford and I have put together what will be – at the time of writing at least – the final iteration of our programme for the summer term. The work outlined in it is set to last for the remaining three weeks. Should the government’s guidelines change and we need to adapt and adjust what we have planned for the pupils in Years 3 – 5, please rest assured we are ready and able to do that here. Agile thinking and swift responses are very much a part of our curriculum development repertoire I would say!
Mrs Lutz was most anxious I should know about the boys in Year 3 and how they have been getting on with their ‘plants’ topic in science work this week. They started off by making simple observations of a plant then working to produce a labelled diagram. They have explored the requirements of plants for life and growth and how they vary from plant to plant. They investigated the way in which water is transported within plants, set up their own practical enquiries and wrote details of the investigation and method, showing how to make it a fair test. Mrs Lutz was also very impressed with their practical skills when it came to the dissection of a flower. I am glad we have got some “budding” excellent natural history specialists “growing” in Year 3 (sorry, had to be done!)
Mrs Sheaff has been delighted with the way the boys in Year 5 have used persuasive language in English lessons this week to debate the merits of home schooling versus schooling ‘at school’. Boys in Year 6 English lessons have been making ‘Top Trumps Villain Cards’, following some excellent investigations into what makes a villain and deciding who is the most villainous character in Stormbreaker, the novel they have been studying this term.
The boys also found summarising each chapter they have studied so far into one sentence harder than they thought!
Setting out opportunities for the pupils to review what they have learnt is important to us. Mr Ford wrote to parents this week with information about our end of year Subject Reviews in English and mathematics, which take place for boys in Years 3 – 5 on Monday, via CENTURY. We do hope the boys will be able to enjoy letting us know what they have learnt this year in these two curriculum areas. We are most definitely looking forward to considering how their skills and knowledge have developed. Do please keep the whole approach ‘low key’ at home on Monday. This is very much the spirit in which Mr Ford hopes the boys will undertake these Reviews, and I fully support him in that.
How we aim to open our boys’ and girls’ hearts and minds to the world around them will only ever improve if we are prepared to think about and review how successful our pastoral care is, and what sort of impact our academic programme is having upon our pupils’ intellectual growth and development. This professional endeavour is very much ingrained in the Hampton Trust’s DNA, which I am very glad about.
I am sure it has been as upsetting for you as it has been for my colleagues and me to see the distressing, chastening scenes across America following the horrific and senseless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The words of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – ‘racism is an abhorrence that we must all reject’ – resonate powerfully with all of us at Hampton Pre-Prep & Prep. Equality and diversity are fundamental to our core values and ethos, and we remain committed to repudiating racism and other discrimination.
Whichever way as families you may have chosen to raise the matters that Mr Floyd’s death have highlighted with your children, so we shall ensure we explore the issues raised by events in the USA and here in the UK with your children through our pastoral programme, once we have had the chance to consider how best to do that in an age appropriate way. Mr Ford and I, with the assistance of our Heads of Department, always set aside time during each summer break to look at our Schemes of Work in all areas of the curriculum. Rest assured we shall be doing so ever more carefully this summer so they remain fit for purpose particularly as far as meeting our aims around diversity and equality are concerned.
Stay safe and well,
Earlier this week you will have received the sad news from Mr Smith that our very lovely Mrs Baldwin is to retire at the end of this academic year. For the record, I would like to add how very grateful we are to Lindsey for her unstinting support here at Pre-Prep over the last twenty years. Music lessons under her guidance have been the greatest fun from beginning to end, with the children being introduced to all manner of instruments as well as sophisticated pieces of music along the line, honing their musical skills but also igniting an enduring passion for music. Her expectations of the children have always been set extremely high but her charges have always risen to the challenges presented, no doubt enjoying her lively sense of fun and humour that infused every single lesson. Lindsey Baldwin will be truly missed but we wish her a wonderful retirement.
It was very important to me that the children should ‘see’ Mrs Baldwin at Monday’s assembly, and what an informative one it was too! I am sure that all who watched would have discovered something new about the German composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Mrs Baldwin was thrilled with the messages and responses sent back to her on Century; the children were fantastic at spotting him amongst the other composers presented.
I think last week’s Puzzle of the Week has been one of my favourites in terms of the responses received. As you will remember, anagrams were set for the children to unravel. What I loved in particular was the fact that some of the children then sent some in for me to do! Here are the anagrams set by Fin (Year 1), have a go at unravelling them and see if you can spot what connect them.
EITGR PHTENEAL OEYMKN IRFEAFG
It goes without saying, we would like nothing more than to have all the children back in School full time but, in line with guidance about the need to re-open in a safe manner, this is simply not possible at the present time. It has, therefore, been great to ‘see’ all the children on MS Teams this week. Connecting staff and children, those working at home and those in school, was a great morale boost for us all here; we hope you enjoyed it too!
‘Shout Outs’ this week go to Arith (Year 1) who took part in this year’s ESA Astro PI Challenge 2020. His challenge was to write a computer program to run an experiment to find the temperature inside the International Space Station (ISS). The program runs on a computer called Astro PI that is onboard the space station. He received a certificate along with the coordinates of the ISS at the time his program ran. Arith is one amongst 6350 teams/young people who participated from 25 countries. Many congratulations, Arith!
Congratulations to Jack (Year 1) who completed a 500 piece jigsaw all by himself. What great determination and effort!
Stars of the Week went to:
Year 2: Arthur for always producing work of a high standard and for ensuring his work is presented neatly.
Year 1: Tommy for excellent engagement with our 3D maths work this week. He worked hard to make careful 3D shapes from nets – even carrying on this learning at home. Well done, Tommy.
Reception: Jack for excellent letter formation this week – all letters formed correctly and carefully. Well done.
As always, if you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate to contact me – there’s no such thing as a silly question. Do call the School Office and, if I am not with my Bubble, I shall make myself available to speak to you straight away, or email me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plans are underway for staging a ‘Virtual Sports Day’ before the end of this term so do watch this space but, in the meantime, have a great weekend!
Here are a few photos from what’s been going on in our Kindergarten this week: