HM Blog Archive | King's Hall School Taunton

HM Blog Archive

Back into the swing

Published on: Friday, November 9, 2018

A wonderful week to get back into the swing after half term. A half term that saw many boys and girls head off to enjoy a terrifically successful Hockey tour to Holland and I hope you followed their journey via Twitter @KingsHallSport. Thanks to Mr Halls, Mrs Hardy and Mrs McD for taking them.

This week brought about the first gentle mentions of Christmas (yes, it is looming) but we have remained focussed on the present with our Remembrance Service being the most significant occasion. The children demonstrated once again that they have a nose for what is expected, the pertinence of such occasions and a solid understanding of how we can all take past experiences that are not necessarily personal to incorporate the learning into our own future behaviours. Well done to all who had a more specific role reading, presenting or playing The Last Post and Reveille and it made me very proud to be part of the poignant atmosphere generated by the collective contributions of children, staff and parents.

This morning we had a quiet start to the day but as these words are being typed the wind is starting to whine through the window frames as the trees dance increasingly vigorously. It’s such a pity to have to cancel the fireworks and I’m sorry to those who were really looking forward to a burger and some pyrotechnics!

The FoKHS Wine Tasting is still on, of course, and so I may see some of you at the County Ground later.

Hitting All The Right Notes

Published on: Friday, October 19, 2018

A brief missive this week before you dive into the Newsletter.

Our first formal concert of the year took place on Tuesday evening and it is always a treat to see children (who you may only have sat with at lunch, or asked about a piece of writing they’re working on) suddenly appear across the Arts Centre, come forward, introduce their piece and then proceed with such confidence to display their musical talents. They were all terrific with several strong vocalists in the mix – and well done on the audience’s vocal contribution, too!

Assembly this morning saw the presentation of the half termly Class/Tutor Plus Cup. Pluses are given for kindness, consideration and good citizenship within the school and each half term the group with the highest average number of pluses is announced. The cup then sits ‘on the mantelpiece’ of that classroom until re-awarded. I was happy to be able to tell the children that there are more pluses out there than usual - this is a great platform for the rest of the term.

Year 4 ended their presentation this morning about their New Barn trip with a prayer that included good wishes to those children travelling to Amsterdam for the Hockey Tour. I know the 21 children and 3 staff are really looking forward to the adventure and challenge of heading to one of the world’s best hockey playing nations: quite an early start on Sunday, though.

It’s now time to pause for a bit. After the break, we head into a warm-hearted period of the annual calendar full of traditional events as the nights draw in and we creep ever closer to that which shall not yet be named! I hope that the children all find time to rest and recharge properly ready to enjoy the second half.

Hold on to Your Hats!

Published on: Friday, October 12, 2018

Hold on to your hats! It has been a pretty exciting time around school today as the wind whistles through all sorts of Georgian window and door frames! Children can become hyperactive around various situations (I don’t know if you’ve noticed that!) and being outside in strong wind is definitely one of them. Perhaps it’s a good thing that most of them have had games today, to let off steam and charge about.

I so enjoyed umpiring the girls’ hockey on Wednesday and my lesson rounds saw me in Year 2 maths earlier the same day learning about greater than or less than signs. Today I was with Year 6 science exploring more about indicators and their importance in helping us determine whether a liquid is acid or alkali and how concentrated it might be. Mrs Cole had her class boiling red cabbage to extract the anthocyanin that occurs naturally in its pigment and is an excellent natural indicator: I wonder if it was coincidence that we had red cabbage as one of the veg accompaniments for our yummy Friday roast!

The scrumptious catering was also an important part of Wednesday night when we had a lovely evening with some of our new parents to the school this year. Chief Pelican, Donald Rice, shared a very genial, convivial message of warmth and shared opportunity so I hope many of you will be able to engage in the occasional events that will crop up. You will have hopefully seen the Wine Tasting that follows on from our very popular Fireworks Party on 9 November, for example.

The wind seems to be getting stronger and the lights in my study have flickered a couple of times this afternoon: I’d best make sure I know where the candles are when I get home, maybe light the first fire of the season and hunker down whilst storm Callum passes through.

Open Minds and Open Day

Published on: Friday, October 5, 2018

On Tuesday evening this week, we held a ‘Teaching and Learning’ session amongst the staff. We hold these gatherings on the basis that we have open minds, are all ‘Life Long Learners’, that contexts shift and that there is an enormous amount of experience and wisdom within the staff body to draw on.

‘Hooks’ to capture the children’s imagination right at the start of a lesson and guided questions to pique their curiosity so they cannot resist seeking the answers themselves were the themes. Our brilliant Heads of Geography and Science led us through some of their examples and up to date research evidence before everyone broke into groups to exchange a myriad of their experiences: it was a very genial and positive hour.

Today was our autumn Open Day and we had a record number of people sign up for the day meaning there was a strong sense of common purpose all around. On top of a well organised day, excellent lessons to see, the lovely food, the art, DT, amazing labs etc, once again it was the children who received the greatest admiration from the visitors. From Tizian welcoming arrivals, through Elise and Oscar speaking from the heart with such humble assurance on to the Year 7 and 8 guides leading and answering questions with equanimity and poise it was a pleasure to know they are King’s Hall children – oh, and a dog! It was a lovely day to head into the weekend – one which sees some of the boarders head off to Cornwall and fingers crossed for some reasonable weather.


Published on: Friday, September 28, 2018

Democracy has been played out in tutor groups recently with the children putting forward their candidacy and then voting for their Pupil Council 2018-2019 representatives: during assembly on Monday we announced the election results. I talked about the privilege of service and urged them not only to act in support of ‘today’ at King’s Hall but also to consider creatively, confidently and expansively how they might impact our thinking for ‘tomorrow’ and the world beyond our boundaries. I showed everyone a company HR recruitment ad in which the company encourages employees with creativity, urgency, optimism, courage to seek solutions, resilience to embrace failures along the way and, finally, a strong sense of shared purpose to work side by side. Congratulations to those elected and good luck to them for the year ahead.

One of the messages from the annual IAPS Heads’ Conference from which I have just returned, was on a somewhat similar theme and one fairly oft heard in these current, more uncertain times. It is the need to be adaptable and resilient, to possess the capacity to cope when things don’t go according to plan, to remain purposeful in the face of adversity - how are you going to react if you find yourself in unfamiliar territory and without a map? Characteristics and attitudes we aim to cultivate in the children here at King’s Hall.

Tomorrow morning, as it happens, I do have a map – or a recipe to be precise – as a little crowd of budding chefs join me and Mr Morgan for our Saturday morning Cookery hobby: Thai Green Chicken Curry is on the menu and so I am pretty certain what’s for supper tomorrow night.

Justin Chippendale

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