The Headmaster writes to the Abingdon Prep community every week during term time.

Letter from the Head, 23 March 2018

Friday 23 March 2018

Dear Parents

It has been a very different week standing at the school entrance welcoming you all in the mornings. I have not needed to don a coat or a scarf, and have enjoyed the warm spring sunshine beating down. I hope that this will continue to be the case for the final week of term.

The week got underway with our Year 1s visiting the Steam Museum in Swindon. They all returned so excited by the trains they had seen alongside all the other huge steam-based machinery. As the photos testify on the monitor in the school entrance, they certainly had a wonderful day and learnt so much.

We found out this week that in May, twenty one of our pupils will be exhibiting their art work at the Ashmolean Museum having been successful in the Young Art Oxford Competition. George, in Year 5, has been chosen for the coveted Ruskin School of Art Award which is a noteworthy achievement. Art continues to be a source of great pride at Abingdon Prep.

After six of our boys participated in the Abingdon School Business Challenge on Tuesday, in which the brief was to design a new type of ice lolly, all of our boys in Years 5 and 6 took part yesterday in the Abingdon Prep Business Challenge. In groups they were given the challenge of designing an Easter Egg, complete with packaging. They had to draw up a plan to take it to market to compete with other brands, and then present their idea to the panel of judges who had joined us from Abingdon School and the Oxfordshire Young Enterprise Group. Dragon’s Den beware, as we may have some young entrepreneurs coming your way!

Our Bake Off Finals have been taking place this week with Anne’s technical challenge acting as the decider. Many cupcakes have been baked (and tasted again) and the boys involved have shown some genuine skills and love for baking. My thanks go to all who were involved in this initiative, and I know we have raised an impressive sum for charity, as well as enjoying some delicious cakes along the way.

In another busy week of sport, our U13 and U12 hockey squads played three matches against New College School at St Edward's School in Oxford. All the games were very close affairs but resulted in three close losses. The boys should be very proud of how much they have improved this term in what is their first experience of hockey.

On the football pitch the final matches of term saw our U12A and B and U13A and B teams take on Abingdon School. Our U12As finished the season in real style with a 6-4 win, coming back from 0-3 down, whilst the 12Bs lost an exciting match 4-5. Our U13As were competitive again but lost and there was a similar fate for our U13Bs. It was very rewarding to have so many of our senior boys representing school in fixtures, whether on the hockey pitch or the football pitch. It is lovely that the boys, no matter what year group they are in, have these opportunities to experience matches and of course, match tea, socialising with their opponents afterwards.

The British Schools Biathlon Championships on Sunday were weather affected but an impressive performance from our U12 team meant that they have finished 4th in the country, with Quinn finishing 4th individually. Congratulations to all the boys who qualified for the finals which is an excellent achievement in itself.

It is our Easter Eggstravaganza tomorrow morning for boys in Reception to Year 3. There is palpable excitement amongst them as they look forward to discovering the eggs which the Easter Bunny will hopefully have left around school. Our thanks go to the JPA for organising this and persuading the Easter Bunny to give up time from his busy schedule to come to see us at Abingdon Prep.

Next week I will let you know the results of this afternoon’s Inter-House Cross-Country. The conditions are slightly more conducive to running this time, after the Siberian blast caused us to postpone the event a couple of weeks ago. It will be wonderful to see all of the boys across the school taking part.

I hope you all have a good weekend and are looking forward to a final busy week of term in the spring sunshine – especially as the clocks will have gone forward over the weekend and we will have that extra hour of evening light.

Best wishes


Thunk for the week – is daylight saving a good or a bad thing?

Letter from the Head, 16 March 2018

Friday 16 March 2018

Dear Parents

Where to start this week? There are so many exciting pieces of news to share…

One of the many highlights of the week was the APS Bake Off. I was particularly honoured to have been asked to judge some of the entries, and every one of the many cakes and bakes I tasted was delicious. It is a creative way to raise money for our school charities and it is fair to say that we have some very talented bakers at school. I look forward to seeing the finalists in baking action next week.

Tuesday saw the senior production of ‘Smike’ take place in the Amey Theatre at Abingdon School. It was a wonderful evening with some delightful singing, acting and dancing. The audience certainly seemed to enjoy it as much as I did. I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Debbie and Jennifer for all their hard work in producing such an impressive spectacle.

There was a raft of football matches this week. Our U9s played twice against St Hugh’s and Chandlings, and of the six matches, we won two, lost two and drew two. Our U9As win on Thursday meant they have remained unbeaten all season and they should be very proud of their efforts. Our U8s played Chandlings and had some very exciting games in which the As and Cs drew, and the Bs and Ds lost. This completed another impressive season in which all the boys have played many games of football and have improved immeasurably. Our U10As and U11As both completed their seasons with excellent wins giving them 100% records – a very admirable feat, whilst the other U10 and U11 teams also had strong final results. On Thursday, our senior boys took to Cox’s Fields to play Cokethorpe. The 13As lost a close match 2-4 whilst the Bs won their first game of the season 3-1 with a strong performance. The U12s continued their excellent season with a 4-2 victory, whilst the Bs also impressed with a 5-2 win.

Our U12 and U13 hockey teams took to the astro again on Wednesday to play against Cothill. The 13s went down in a high scoring match 2-6 whilst our U12s lost a thrilling match 4-5. Every week, as the boys gain more experience of hockey, their understanding of match play is improving visibly.

Our football matches tomorrow are a new venture for Abingdon Prep. We will be competing against Bedford Modern School as a Foundation together with the U12 and U13 teams from Abingdon School. I wish the boys luck and look forward to supporting them from the touch line.

A busy sporting weekend continues on Sunday with the British Schools Biathlon finals at Crystal Palace. We have ten boys competing, all of whom have qualified from the regional heats earlier in the year. This is always a gruelling event and huge credit goes to our boys for qualifying. I look forward to hearing how they have fared.

Year 2 travelled to Warwick Castle this week and had a wonderful time exploring the medieval castle and learning first-hand about life hundreds of years ago. The castle certainly helped bring their History topic to life and I have been hearing from the boys how much they enjoyed the trip. Year 5 are also visiting the Pitt Rivers Museum today and I look forward to hearing the highlights of their outing.

4T’s assembly on Thursday was extremely well presented and the class shared an important message with the rest of the school about appreciating all the wonderful things that we have in our lives and considering how people in other parts of the world are not so fortunate. It is so powerful when the boys share these messages with their peers. I also had the privilege of seeing Reception’s class assembly today. The boys were so proud to tell their parents about their beanstalks, and their playlet of the Gingerbread Man was well received by the audience of parents and Pre-Prep boys. They have certainly been busy in the classroom this term.

This week we also received the results of the final group of Abingdon scholarship assessments. We are exceptionally proud of all our boys who sat scholarships in their chosen sphere this year. They all devoted enormous effort to the process and can be justifiably proud of themselves. I am delighted to report that this year our boys have gained five academic scholarships – four to Abingdon and one to Magdalen College School. We have also been awarded one Art, one Music and one Drama scholarship, all to Abingdon School. I would like to take this opportunity to thank openly all the staff who have helped to prepare the boys so well for their scholarships.

I sincerely hope the snow does not return this weekend as it is high time that Spring makes an appearance!

With best wishes


Thunk for the week – can you be accused of cheating if you do not know the rules?

Letter from the Head, 9 March 2018

Friday 9 March 2018

Dear Parents

I would like to start by thanking everyone for their patience and understanding with regard to the snow day last week. I appreciate the difficulties faced when a school is closed for the day. However, the boys seemed delighted with the decision and I hope they all enjoyed the opportunity to use their sledges.

Rehearsals for our production of ‘Smike’ have been ratcheted up this week, with the technical rehearsal on Saturday and the main performance on Tuesday evening at the Amey Theatre. There are still some tickets available, so I would encourage all parents with children in Years 3 and above, to come along for what promises to be a very entertaining evening. Having listened to a number of the songs already, we are certainly in for a treat.

On my learning walk this week I was treated to a Year 3 Science lesson on the topic of teeth. I am reliably informed that during their next lesson they will be experimenting with disclosure tablets, so there may need to be some focused teeth brushing going on before that. Year 7 were putting together some drama sketches and I was particularly impressed with the saxophone accompaniment creating the scene of danger in the tomb! Cross curricular links were certainly coming to the fore in this lesson.

4AP produced an informative and very well delivered school assembly yesterday, in which we all learned about the life and diet of some Bolivian people, and it gave our boys food for thought with regard to their own food choices. 4AP’s mixture of singing, acting and public speaking entertained us all.

Our Year 8 academic scholarship group sat their exams this week and it was very interesting to welcome them back into school and hear how they felt the week had gone. They can be very proud of their efforts leading up to this very stretching set of exams, as can all of our boys who have been involved in scholarship assessments this term. As a school, we are certainly proud of them all.

Hockey fixtures took centre stage for Years 6 to 8 this week. There were impressive victories for our U13s against St Hugh’s and U11As against the Dragon. Every other match was a closely fought contest, with the Dragon just coming out on top. I hope the boys have enjoyed their first foray into Hockey and will look forward to more fixtures next year.

On the football pitch, our U8s and U9s enjoyed fixtures against Moulsford. Our U9As continued their unbeaten run, whilst our U8As lost their first game of the season in a very high quality match. The U9Bs won one and lost one, and the U9Cs won two very good games. Our U8B, C, and D teams were all involved in multiple matches as Moulsford had brought eight teams to take on our four. The boys certainly seem to be enjoying their game and improving each and every time they take the field.

Our long anticipated Scalextrics Evening, so kindly organised by the JPA, is taking place this evening and I have been hearing that there has been many a practice session taking place at home, and that is just the parents! Trophies are all in place and I know that the boys are excited about the event. Track conditions are forecast to be favourable with some fast times expected.

I am delighted to have been asked to judge some of the entries for the APS Bake off next week, so I hope that the boys will take the opportunity at the weekend to get creative in the tent, sorry, I mean kitchen, and put their baking skills to the test, all in aid of our school charities of course.

As this letter attests, term continues to be busy and purposeful, and the boys are grabbing opportunities that come their way. Long may that continue.

Best wishes


Thunk for the week – can a cake ever be considered a work of art and not simply something to eat?

Letter from the Head, 2 March 2018

Friday 2 March 2018

Dear Parents

I write this letter with the school eerily quiet as the snow has returned with a vengeance and we have unfortunately closed the school today. An unusual end to a busy week and hopefully, with the official start of meteorological spring yesterday, this was the final blast of winter and the daffodils can start opening up again in the next few weeks.

I wanted to take this opportunity to inform you of some staff changes for September and also next term. Mrs Natasha Watson will be joining us as Head of English in September. Natasha is currently teaching English at The Beacon and we look forward to her joining us here and becoming fully involved in a wide range of activities, including Drama, for which she clearly has a passion. However, for the Summer Term, Mrs Karina Philip will be our acting Head of English. Karina has a wealth of English teaching experience and is also a published author of children’s books and English textbooks, and has a real interest in music too. Rebecca Schwarz has been appointed as Head of Science for September. She currently teaches Science at Headington Senior School, and has a wide range of interests including hockey and other sports. We very much look forward to welcoming them all into the Abingdon Prep community.

A number of our Year 8 boys have been sitting in the past few weeks, and this coming week, their scholarship exams and assessments. Their desire to work hard and give their very best has been clear for all to see and I would like to congratulate all of them on their efforts. They can be very proud of themselves.

Sadly, all of our football matches and inter-house cross-country this week had to be cancelled due to the frozen pitches and snow cover, but we have rescheduled the date for 23 March to run the cross-country and parents will, of course, be more than welcome to attend.

Last Monday, our Year 6s performed a cantata, St Frideswide, with words and music written by our own, very talented Debbie Rose at Christ Church Cathedral. The first part of the afternoon took the form of a talk by Ruth Buckley, a St Frideswide expert, so the audience arrived well informed to hear the boys sing. Our boys sang beautifully with pure tone and clear diction, and the story of the saint’s life gradually unfolded through the nine songs, dramatic action and linking narration. It was a wonderful experience for the boys to perform in such an impressive venue.

We now have four weeks of term remaining, so I hope the boys enjoyed their snow day and will return refreshed after their three day weekend. I look forward to hearing all about their sledging and snowballing exploits.

With best wishes


Thunk – can we really know that every snowflake is different if we do not analyse all of them?

Letter from the Head, 23 February 2018

Friday 23 February 2018

Dear Parents

I hope you all had a very enjoyable half term and that any illness that may have been lurking before the break quickly disappeared. The second half of term has started well and with our usual diverse array of activities.

Earlier this week three pupils from the Middle Section attended the annual 'Let's Debate' competition at Oratory School. After attending a morning of debating workshops, pupils were then tasked with opposing the motion “This House believes that teachers should be replaced with computers”, which was proposed by a team from Farleigh School in Hampshire. The boys acquitted themselves eloquently and I am assured that teachers are here to stay, at least for the time being!

This week’s football matches saw our younger boys playing Christ Church Cathedral School. Our U8As claimed another very impressive 9-0 victory whilst our B, C and D teams all lost closely fought matches. The U9A, B and C teams all celebrated solid victories, as did our U10B and D teams. The U11C and D teams lost to strong CCCS teams. Our U12s played Oratory School, with our As losing an exciting game 3-4, the Bs winning 1-0 and the Cs losing 1-4. This Saturday five of our teams travel to Cokethorpe and I hope that I will see many of you on the touch line offering your support. According to the weather forecast, warm clothes will be in order.

Yesterday, the second class pairings of the term took place. This time the theme was book-sharing which linked to World Book Day which is happening on Thursday next week. We are all greatly looking forward to seeing some interesting costumes that day. I particularly enjoyed hearing some of our Year 1s sharing their stories with our Year 6s and in return, having a Mr Men book read to them. It brought back fond memories for me of Mr Bump and Mr Tickle! Year 2 have also impressed me this week with some of their excellent Lego creations which are already starting to be displayed.

Whilst walking around the school yesterday, Mike Windsor and I popped in to hear our Year 5s sharing their recent stories based on the detective novels of Sherlock Holmes. The boys had managed to build tension in some especially well written pieces, some of which had character names which suited the storylines perfectly. Reviewing and improving their work had certainly been effective, and judging by how eagerly they were explaining their stories to their partners, they enjoyed the task immensely.

Next week continues to be busy with our Year 6s performing at Christ Church on Monday, and a whole school Open Day on Tuesday.

I wish you all a good weekend and look forward to seeing some of you at matches tomorrow.

Best wishes


Thunk for the week – if I deliberately drop a bucket of paint onto a canvas, is it Art? What if I drop it accidentally? Is it Art then?

Letter from the Head, 9 February 2018

Friday 9 February 2018 

Dear Parents

Yesterday was an important day for the Junior Section. They performed ‘Daniel and The Lions’ Den’ to a packed house in the school hall. There was standing room only to see some impressive acting, singing and dancing from our very talented Year 3 and 4s. The boys should be very proud of their efforts and the way in which they have all worked together to produce such a memorable performance. I have heard from numerous parents that there had been a lot of song rehearsals in cars on the way home from school in the lead up to the play. The tunes were certainly catchy and I could not get the encore out of my head on Thursday evening. I even caught myself humming away today at lunch. 

We started this week with Safer Internet workshops and a talk to parents in the evening. Whilst the information received was hard hitting, it is certainly something that we should all be aware of. The internet is a wonderful tool when used in the right way and safely, and the earlier our boys learn about how to stay safe when using it, the better. We always encourage the boys to make the right choices, and I am sure that with the information they received on Monday, they are more likely to make better choices when it comes to social media and the internet. No matter what our personal views on social media are, it is here to stay and is a huge part of a child’s life now. 

On Tuesday, Year 5 visited Abingdon School for a Science day. They returned so excited by the range of experiments with which they had been involved. How could one not be enthused by Science when it is so ‘hands on’? What an inspiring way to learn and sincere thanks to the Abingdon School staff who organised the day.

Most of the Middle and Senior Section boys were out on Wednesday playing football against Oratory Prep School and Abingdon. All the games were competitive affairs and our U10 A and U11A teams remained undefeated with impressive 5-0 and 6-1 wins respectively. Our U12s kicked off the season with a good win against Oratory Prep and a draw against Abingdon School whilst our U13s teams just lost out in two very close matches.

The IAPS swimming qualifiers last Friday saw some strong performances both from individuals and in the relays, and now we must wait to find out whether the times our boys achieved are fast enough to qualify for the National Finals. We have our fingers crossed having won three events in a remarkably competitive field. 

I wish you all a very enjoyable half-term break. I am certain that the boys are more than ready for some down time, as are the staff!

Best wishes


Thunk for the week – If you could take a pill that meant you could never fail, would you? 

Letter from the Head, 2 February 2018

Friday 2 February 2018 

Dear Parents

Last Friday our Pre-Prep Grandparents’ afternoon took place. This was extraordinarily well attended and I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to so many proud grandparents and watching our younger boys playing ‘Old School’ games with them. There was not a Playstation in sight but instead, lots of lovely interactions taking place. As these boys move higher up the school, it will be lovely to welcome their grandparents back to watch them in productions, concerts and fixtures.

Football matches this week saw our U8As, U9As, U10As and 11As victorious once more against both The Oratory and St Hugh’s respectively, whilst the remainder of the games saw an even split of wins, losses and draws. There is certainly visible improvement across all teams, and with the popularity of football at break times too, that is no surprise!

Our first Hockey matches of the term took place on Wednesday against Cothill for our U12 and U13 D teams. After just two hours of practice, our U13s struggled to match a well drilled Cothill team and found themselves conceding regularly in the first half. However, with a few team adjustments, and a huge improvement in dynamism around the pitch, we drew the second half 2-2. Our U12s threw themselves into their game right from the start and a close match with a huge effort from both teams saw us finish 1-4 down. With more Hockey to come, there is much to be optimistic about on the MUSA.

The cross-country season is well and truly upon us. Last Friday saw us competing at the St Andrew’s event where boys from Years 3-8 performed very well, with our U12 and U13 teams winning their respective sections. A week later at Pinewood, our U11s and U13s ran impressively again, with Abingdon Prep having 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed runners in the U13 category.

I am currently waiting to hear the results of the IAPS swimming qualifiers which took place this afternoon at The Dragon School. I am sure our boys will have acquitted themselves admirably. 

Thursday’s assembly saw 8J take to the stage. They conveyed an important message to the other boys about having a passion for something and being prepared to dedicate time to it in order to improve. There were demonstrations of cycling around the hall, a handsome Jack Russell on stage and we were treated to tales of karting, robotics and golf, to name but a few. The boys showed genuine enthusiasm for and commitment to their hobbies, and they explained it extremely well. Some in the audience may even have been inspired to take up a new pastime!

Play rehearsals are in full swing in both the junior and senior sections and I am very much looking forward to the Year 3 and 4 performance of ‘Daniel and the Lions' Den’ on Thursday next week. I have heard some beautiful singing coming out of the Hall on my walks around school and the boys seem very excited about the upcoming performance.

It was a pleasure to see all of those parents who were able to join me this morning for coffee and pastries. It was a welcome opportunity to catch up and chat about school and the boys. The staff were very grateful for the leftover pains au chocolat that appeared at morning break time!

And finally, this week’s Thunk – if you break down in the middle of the road, is your car parked?

Best wishes


Letter from the Head, 26 January 2018

Friday 26 January 2018 

Dear Parents

As the Spring Term races by and the weather seems to be worsening, Abingdon Prep has been a hive of activity all week. Thursday was our ‘paper aeroplane challenge’ in houses and buddy groups. There were some wonderfully creative designs on show. Some, when thrown, even managed to fly backwards, but a well-engineered few have progressed through to the finals. There are a few hot favourites but no one can predict what conditions will be like on finals day!

On one of my learning walks this week I was lucky enough to visit a Year 8 Science practical where neutralisation of acids was taking place and blue copper sulphate crystals were being created. The boys were able to explain fully the process behind the reactions and impressed Mr Windsor and me with their detailed understanding. The Year 8 Maths group were equally as impressive with their knowledge and manipulation of areas and perimeters using π. Our Year 7s were producing playlets and setting them to music in the Gamalan tradition – not a style of music that I had come across before. There were plenty of diverse and enlightening topics being studied yesterday morning.

The inclement weather on Wednesday did not stop our first football fixtures for the middle school going ahead against Pinewood. The U10 A, B and C teams all won exciting games whilst our U10 Ds lost a tight match with Pinewood’s U10Cs 3-4, having recovered to 3-3 from 3-0 down. The impressive U11 As won 10-2, whilst the Bs drew 2-2, Cs lost 2-3 and the Ds lost 7-9. It would be fair to say that football was the winner in this game! Our Year 7 and 8 cross-country team also competed in their first event of term this week, running out convincing winners against Abingdon, New College and Sacred Heart. To have two boys run under ten minutes for 2.8km was rather impressive.

Our Year 8 Art scholars are very busy preparing for their Art assessment day and this week they had a crank clay masterclass. Some of their animal sculptures are truly remarkable and I look forward greatly to seeing them after they have been fired in the kiln. They are certainly a talented group of young artists.

The concert platform last week was a resounding success again with many boys, some for the very first time, performing to an appreciative audience. If you missed it, please do look at the short video clip of some of the performances in the news section on our website – ‘Performers wowed the crowd’ – one cannot help but be impressed by our wonderful musicians.

I am still receiving some fascinating answers to these at morning drop-off (from both parents and pupils) so here is another Thunk for the week –

Is it better to play well and lose, or to play badly and win?

Good luck to all those brave quizzers who are back at school this evening eagerly anticipating Rob’s selection of general knowledge questions. I look forward to welcoming you all and to making my debut on the staff quiz team.

I hope you have a good weekend, and do remember to pop in for ‘coffee and pastries’ next Friday at morning drop-off in the Drama Studio.

With best wishes


Letter from the Head, 19 January 2018

Friday 19 January 2018 

Dear Parents

I started this week in assembly with a favourite quote of mine from the great golfer Gary Player, ‘The more I practise, the luckier I get’. It has been delightful to see that the boys in all areas of the school have been working really hard this week and I have been encouraged by the purposeful atmosphere in their classrooms. 8R have been sitting their mock scholarship exams and I thoroughly enjoyed being invited to see the Year 3s undertaking some science experiments. Year 3 had designed and created a range of parachutes with different shaped canopies and different surface areas. They proceeded to drop them from the top of the stairs and had to time how long it took for them to reach the floor. After that, they had to calculate average times and draw conclusions from the data sets collected. It was pleasing to see them so actively engaged in their own learning.

On Wednesday, our Under 13s kicked off the football season with matches against Davenies. This was our first ever fixture against this school. The A team were involved in a very competitive game and were just edged out 0-2, despite having much of the possession and creating lots of chances. Perhaps a little more shooting practice will be needed this week! The B team had a tougher game against strong opposition but worked hard to the end.

Our Year 4s visited Sulgrave Manor yesterday. The weather was kind (at least, it did not rain), and all of the boys had a wonderful time learning about the Tudors in such an impressive setting, helping to bring history to life. I am told that the boys carried off the Tudor costumes expertly and there were many Tudor themed packed lunches on show! It is hard to beat learning about key periods in history when you are surrounded by history itself.

Yesterday afternoon saw the first swimming gala of the year at Abingdon School for both A and B teams against Moulsford Prep and Abingdon. Our Under 12s had an exciting battle with Abingdon School but were defeated by just 2 points after a series of very tight finishes. Our U13s were extremely impressive and were victorious by a reasonably large margin. There is clearly a great strength in depth in our senior section swimmers and they should all be very pleased with their performances.

I wanted to take this opportunity to let you all know that I will be hosting another ‘Coffee and Pastries’ morning in the Drama studio on Friday 2 February from 8am to 9.15am. I really enjoyed chatting with so many of you last time and I hope that even more of you will be able to drop in on that day. 

And finally, after receiving numerous impressive answers to last week’s offering, here is this week’s Thunk – Is there more future or more past?

I hope you have a relaxing weekend.

Best wishes


Letter from the Head, 12 January 2018

Friday 12 January 2018 

Dear All

I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas break and have settled back into the routines of the new year. Although I could not quite believe how dark it was, when standing outside on the first morning welcoming the boys back to school, it is good to be back and focused on an exciting term ahead. I have heard many lovely stories about the boys’ holidays and what they got up to, in addition to what their favourite presents were!

I would like to take this opportunity to let you know about our appointment of a Head of French for September. We had an excellent series of applications and from a very strong field we have appointed Mr Russell Macdonald. Russell is currently Head of MFL at Dean Close Prep School in Cheltenham, and he has also taught at a number of other prep schools. He stood out in the interview process as someone who was passionate about his subject and prep school education in general. He is currently a form teacher and also coaches Games. We very much look forward to welcoming him into the Abingdon Prep community in September.

I am also delighted to pass on that Jennifer Brown, who has been with us as Head of English on a maternity cover, has secured an exciting role as Head of English and Drama at Sherborne Prep in Dorset. I know that Jennifer is greatly looking forward to the production of ‘Smike’ which will be an excellent swansong for her.

We started the term with a delightful group of class pairings yesterday. The theme this time was card games. Having visited all the rooms, it was obvious that we have some boys well versed in the art of card games and I certainly wouldn’t have been tempted to join one of the poker tables or the Blackjack group! It is so enjoyable to watch the boys interacting so well and enjoying each other’s company across the different year groups. This was followed today with a well-earned home clothes day for Dragon House pupils after their victory in the House points competition last term.

Pre-season football was a great success with 32 boys in Year 7 and 8 and 36 boys in Year 5 and 6 attending the sessions. It is an event that we are very keen to continue to arrange for the boys prior to the beginning of each term. Thank you to the staff and boys who gave up the final day of the holidays to come in to practise for the season ahead.

I asked the boys in my assembly on Tuesday to consider the statement “If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you will keep getting what you’ve always gotten!” but related it to our effort grade descriptors (and some cricketing technique too!). I encouraged them to approach the term with a fresh attitude and desire to change the things they felt they might need to change. After popping into a number of lessons this week, I certainly saw evidence of a renewed desire to learn and improve themselves in areas that they may not previously have been seen as strong points. I really do hope that this positive approach is at the forefront of the boys’ thinking this term. 

As far as thinking goes, I am hoping to include a Thunk in most of my weekly letters as I think it is an excellent way to spark interesting conversations across the dinner table or in the car on the way to or from school. There are sadly, however, no prizes for the best answers! What on earth is a Thunk, you may ask? Well, a Thunk is a simple-looking question about everyday things that stops you in your tracks and hopefully helps you start to look at the world in a new light. So here goes with the first one of the term…. 

Which is heavier – a lie or a promise?

I look forward to hearing some of thoughts on this one at the front gate next week!

Best wishes