Headmaster's Blog Archive

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.

What a busy and productive week!

Friday, March 9, 2018 by Justin Chippendale

The snow has been well documented and whilst there are still some smatterings still lying around it seems like quite a while ago now. There have certainly been some who want to see more but in general it seems that most are happy to have enjoyed its arrival and very glad to see its departure.

Last night I went to the College as one of a number of Heads of Prep Schools that have children who join King’s College and it was a treat to be amongst the very first to see the incredible new Sports Performance and Cricket Centre being used. It is a remarkable facility and will serve many children across a range of uses.

After a look inside and an explanation from the Headmaster and Director of Sport, we were further treated to a lovely dinner in some good company. Once all proceedings were complete there was a quick chance to join some of the College staff for a small nightcap. Not as glamorous as it sounds, folks, as I was on soft drinks and I found myself drinking Cherry Coke: I cannot remember if I have ever had the pleasure before and it is certainly not something I will be seeking out anytime soon!

When I came to leave (and it wasn’t that late!) I found that I was unable to get out of the building and so had to go to the Common Room to find a member of staff and say ‘Please, Sir, can you help me?’ It made me think back to the last time I had to do that in exactly the same place during the 1980s!!

The Great Potato Challenge is coming on nicely here and with the musical successes before half term allied to the news filtering through of terrific results from the Taunton Drama festival this week we have much to celebrate about the creative and artistic activities of the children this week. There is more to come next week as Year 6 will regale us with some stories of ‘Arabian Nights’ and so I may see some of you there.

'The time the snow came'

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 by Justin Chippendale

A week of anticipation finally delivered the children’s wishes as the snow came to Somerset in earnest yesterday. Below you will see a quick montage I have put together of the last 24 hours as the resident community throw out the routines and make the most of the conditions: it has been 5 or 6 years since the last heavy fall and there are plenty of children (and some adults) who have not been in snow before. We are all getting involved in the fun, the cooking (and washing up), the games, the relaxation and the camaraderie that goes with it. Earlier in the week we drew out the House Songs for the end of term House Music Competition. It is 100 years since women were allowed to vote (although even in 1918 the Representation of the People Act only provided for women over 30 with at least £5 to their name to be allowed to vote, it took until 1928 before women were given equal voting rights to men) and so we have chosen empowering songs sung by female artists. House drawbridges get pulled up a little at this time of year and you may well hear regular humming, drumming and repeated playing of your child’s song over the weeks ahead, so come to the competition to hear a different tune! You will also find evidence later in the Newsletter of our Potato Challenge with a World Book Day literary character theme. This has really taken off in the Prep and there should be a fabulous collection of 200+ book character potatoes at the end of the project: it has been a hot topic of conversation in the playground, at meals and in the common room. Shared experiences, such as the three happenings above, are most often the best ones, they are the ones that give us the memories we talk about with family and friends for years to come - “Do you remember when we chucked all that snow over the Headmaster’s head in 2018!” - so it is lovely to see the children getting stuck in to them all and having a great time sharing in each others thoughts and company. I hope you are all warm and able to enjoy the enforced break. See you on Monday – weather permitting!

Embrace your inner child

Friday, February 23, 2018 by Justin Chippendale

Straight back into the swing of things and this week I have met with several prospective parents. One conversation that comes up quite often is the fact that many parents look around our site and wish they could return to the carefree days of childhood. This was also a topic when showing a visiting Head from a local primary school and, as I explained to them all, going up to Year 8 here without a senior school around means you can be a child for a little longer!

As it so stands, my week has included some suitably ‘childish’ moments. I had a lovely half hour in Year 2 on Wednesday where there was much excitement as the children took their first foray into the world of fractions. We then had a small break to run over a recital of The Gingerbread Man, whilst also considering punctuation, and then just as I had to go, Mrs Kittow was about to make sandwiches which were going to be cut into various fractions and eaten: poor diary management on my part!

At lunch today there was chat amongst Year 4 boys about various children’s TV programmes that they now consider beneath them! “Guess what? My brother could sing the whole of the Thomas the Tank Engine song!" There were giggles that they had once enjoyed ‘Tractor Ted’ and heaven forbid that there was any kudos to be had from any association with ‘3rd and Bird’, ‘The Koala Brothers’ or (one of my personal favourites) ’64 Zoo Lane’.

We may all be familiar with the verse from Corinthians that reads: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Well, I agree with Mr Sprague who, when this quote came up not that long ago, chipped in that “…and most regret doing so!”.

Click here to read this week's newsletters.

Half Term

Friday, February 9, 2018 by Justin Chippendale

We move into half term with so many recent successes and terrific events meaning we definitely have earned the rest. Foremost of the recent activities has been the amazing quantity and quality of musical involvement at the Taunton Music Festival, as well as the Lent Concert. The age range is impressive and so is the enthusiasm and vivacity that emanates from them all as part of the King’s Hall music scene. I know there will be details to come but many congratulations to all involved.

Other ‘successes’ come from all across the school and again some of them are detailed here or perhaps linked to the website – such as the Under 13 boys qualifying for the Hockey National Finals.

Last night also saw some adult successes as the Friends of King’s Hall Quiz Night was another terrific occasion: well done and thanks to the Chief Pelican and her team who should be very pleased with the fun and enjoyment they created for all who attended. Well done to the winning team called ‘We Thought This Was Speed Dating!’ who just edged out a King’s College staff team in the final round.

Have a great week as we all draw breath. The second half will bring many more events including 13+ Scholarship challenges for many Year 8s, ‘Arabian Nights’ performances for Year 6 and we all head towards the House Music competition on the final afternoon – get it in your diary now.

Here are some Dingbats from an additional fun round at last night’s quiz to give you headaches!

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