Headmaster's Blog Archive

Inspired by Art

Friday, May 18, 2018 by Justin Chippendale

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...

Friday, May 11, 2018 by Justin Chippendale

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...

Friday, May 4, 2018 by Justin Chippendale

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 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.

King's Hall Community Reunite

Friday, April 20, 2018 by Justin Chippendale

If perhaps, like Pavlov’s dogs, you are in a term time Friday afternoon routine where you are anticipating an email with HEADlines – here you go. This one is just a quick welcome back from HEADlines after the holidays, no newsletter until next week as there isn’t really enough for a full edition, and there will be a more information-heavy letter from me to follow soon.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and there have been many signs of that after the Easter break.

Monday and Tuesday saw the staff gather for their regular INSET training whilst making final preparations for the term ahead and the happiness of re-uniting with friends and colleagues was clear. On the first evening of term I met some bouncing boarders who were excited to catch up with each other again and one new starter with a huge smile on his face eager to explore every nook and cranny. On the first morning of term I came across giggling girls equally pleased to re-acquaint themselves as they tripped around the Rose Garden playing tag and, later that morning, lots of chatter at break as the children all shared tales of the holidays.

It is, of course, lovely - and important - to find some calm and peace in our own ‘isolation’ but there is also a great energy and camaraderie that comes from larger groups. In looking to combine aspects of these two states I encouraged the children on Wednesday morning to take personal responsibility for themselves and to not only be masters of their own destiny but also be their best selves to contribute most effectively to the collective good.

One of the days before term included a Crisis Management exercise for some of us and certainly the need to work for the collective good was most apparent as the situation evolved and became more complex. You’ll be pleased to hear it was only a drill and that that all is in order - the kitchens have not exploded!

So, we are back together as a community to work together on a purposeful and productive pathway through what has started (at least for a few days!) as a blissfully sunny Summer Term. Here’s to many more down the line.

A purposeful week to be topped off with snow?

Friday, March 16, 2018 by Justin Chippendale

As we head to St Patrick’s Day tomorrow, the colour green comes to mind and some healthy jealousy that colour can imply. Yesterday, 24 Prep School Heads of Science spent the day at King’s Hall, enjoying a day of professional development, networking and sharing of best practice. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear that there were many green eyes as they spent much of the time in our brilliant new Science Faculty. The day went very well and thanks go to those on site who made it all go so smoothly.

King’s College have been inspected this week and whilst the Headmaster cannot say too much before the official report is published I know that they are very happy with what the inspectors had to say. As you are probably aware, since last May we have been waiting for an Inspection here based on the rough 3 year schedule ISI set themselves - we were last visited in May 2014. An inspection of course makes you stand a little straighter and can put a little more tension in the air during the visit but there is no denying the sense of release once one is behind such an event: I am certainly jealous of the College basking in that feeling at the moment. Perhaps ours will be next week?

The terrific Year 6 play – last performance tonight – is a marvellously colourful feast for the eyes as well as containing some wonderful acting, humour and singing. Once again, Mrs Keirle’s creativity is evident with many a clever mechanism in place as the children learn more about stage craft than merely acting.

Having had a huge response to our Friends of King’s Hall Easter Egg Hunt with nearly three hundred people signing up to wander around Willett Wood hunting for clues that can be traded for eggs, it is really disappointing that with the forecast freezing temperatures, gusty winds and the high potential for some snow plus a yellow (more of a St David’s Day daffodil colour) weather warning out from the Met Office it does look as if it may have to be cancelled – we will keep you updated.

As we head into the last weekend of this term, in the Newsletter you will read how the pace never slows and the final days next week are set to be just as full of activity.

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