HM Blog Archive
We'd Like a Little More Sunshine Please!
Published on: Friday, May 25, 2018
So, the lovely stretch of sunnier weather we have been having has broken and the old joke about ‘Well, that was summer, then!’ has been heard a couple of times in the last 24 hours. With June just around the corner let’s hope it brings a return to fine weather and might we even see a ‘flaming June’ this year?
It has been a relatively peaceful week in the Prep due to exams and Tuesday here was a particular oasis of calm as not only were Years 5, 6 and 7 taking exams but Year 3 headed up to Dunkery Beacon and Year 4 were enjoying the splendour of Lulworth Cove.
We have thrown in some energetic events along the way as Year 3 and 4 ran, jumped and threw at their Sports Day and today we ended with most of the Prep children committing enthusiastically to the King’s Hall Biathlon, running and swimming with vim before heading off into half term.
Another packed edition of our Prep Newsletter, full of reflections from the last seven days awaits your perusal.
Inspired by Art
Published on: Friday, May 18, 2018
As part of my routine visits to classes, I went to see what Year 6 were getting up to in their art and before I knew it I was placed on a stool, given a blank piece of paper, a pencil and found myself sketching a still life collection of hand tools. The general aspect of how they were lying wasn’t too bad as I laid down a few light lines and then adding the edges to the hammer was okay as was deciding where to start and finish the paintbrush that was lying over it. I sketched out the marker pen but it became trickier when forming the ellipses needed on the ends of several items. Also, how to convey the 3D nature of rounded handles was worrying me and I didn’t make a great job of the pinched section near the top of the brush.
I only had a few minutes but found that the jaws of the secateurs drew most of my attention and I was certainly sorry not to have been able to stick with it as I hadn’t even started on the head of the hammer, the bristles on the brush or adding to the scissors.
Having headed up to the art room thinking about the myriad of things I needed to be doing and expecting to ask a few children what they were up to, it was, on reflection, wonderful to be called into action. It was not only good fun, gave an unexpected insight into what we ask the children to do and how they must feel but it also forced me to think about nothing other than the shape and form of the objects in front of me thus having something of a therapeutic effect.
The children are going to add bright, clashing colours to theirs after the work of Michael Craig-Martin – click here to see some of his work - and I look forward to seeing their final pieces
Around both the Royal Wedding and the FoKHS Tennis Tournaments coming up I hope you can relax a little over the weekend and if you find it difficult, just throw some tools on the table and start drawing them.
The Inspectors Pay a Visit...
Published on: Friday, May 11, 2018
I am sure that you won’t be surprised to hear that the call from the Independent Schools Inspectorate on Tuesday put a different slant on the week than that anticipated before the call! Today, for example, I was meant to be chairing the termly meeting of South West Prep Heads and yesterday evening I was not able to attend an Education meeting at a school where I am a governor – an unavoidable function of a busy diary and the notice period for inspections.
There is no denying that when the call comes the initial feeling is one of apprehension but this quickly subsides as the call to action goes out to the excellent teams re-establishing that all is in order, and the desire is then to demonstrate this to the inspectors: it is quite an affirming experience.
This is a compliance inspection and there is no doubting its importance but, as such, it can be seen as rather dry. There has, though, been a good amount of interaction with children as well as both support and teaching staff during the last two days. The three Inspectors started by joining our Family Eucharist which was its usual uplifting occasion and then went on to check such matters as Safeguarding procedures, risk assessments, EYFS protocols, recruitment policies and H&S records; they have also visited the boarding house, observed lessons and met with various groups of staff and pupils. The inspectors have commented very favourably on the levels of openness and engagement with all they have met, making the process very smooth.
As you will likely know, there is verbal feedback before they depart which is provisional and cannot be shared in detail until the written report (which by its nature will be very short) is finalised but there was certainly assurance in their words.
So, we head into the weekend with a lovely sense of having something that has been pending (for a whole year now!) behind us and buoyed up by yet another encounter with the school, where the visitors leave with a strong sense of our communal warmth.
Can’t say the weather is particularly warm at the moment – what a change a few days make!
A busy start to the term...
Published on: Friday, May 4, 2018
This afternoon I have been out to the Archaeological Pit with some of Year 4 as they searched for Roman artefacts – they were so engrossed and the excitement, engagement and enthusiasm was infectious when I joined the group. This has been such a great addition to our site and it is worth repeating that it was made possible by the generosity of a King’s Hall family.
I followed that with a bit of Spanish bingo as Year 5 sorted their té from their café or the bacadillo from the pan with helado, queso and limonada amongst the many other yummy things, too. Señora Murray was a fabulous bingo caller with not a ‘little duck’ or a ‘garden gate’ to be heard!
Earlier in the week I had been at the Boarding Schools’ Association Heads’ Conference in Brighton which included the downside of a fire alarm in horrid weather (fortunately a false call in the end) and the upside (quite literally) of a ‘flight’ in the British Airways i360 Tower. In amongst these there were some excellent and inspiring sessions led by the likes of Lord Hastings, Vice Admiral Ben Kay, Rev Steve Chalke as well as the valuable opportunity to mix and share experiences with the boarding fraternity from both Prep and senior schools.
Brighton is a popular Bank Holiday destination and I hope you all enjoy the extended break this weekend and that, wherever you go, the sun shines as promised.