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We have some budding engineers over in Pre-Prep. Last week the children investigated, built and balanced using a ra… - 15 hours ago

Sharing Brings Us Closer

Published on: Friday, November 20, 2020

The half way point of the second half of term is marked by a Long Weekend, as they are known. Ordinarily, as this Newsletter link lands in your inbox, we would be welcoming in the organisers and stall holders of the excellent Rural Living Show that magically appears on our site each year and then evaporates by Monday morning. Sadly, it is another victim of Covid and we will miss the sights and smells and early Christmas shopping opportunities it provides through the coming together of artisans and producers.

Yes, talk of Christmas is pretty rife now, the odd song on the radio, lights are appearing in domestic homes, nativities are in production phases and we have just sent a message to choir members about Carol Service plans.

We would usually enjoy a very atmospheric and heart-warming seasonal gathering of families and friends on the last Sunday of term to bask in the reassuringly familiar story in the College Chapel. We have decided to create a digital version with the main musical recording taking place in the Chapel on the Friday beforehand and to make it available at the usual time of 5.30pm on Sunday 6 December – I very much hope that we will have a virtual sense of shared experience if we all still watch it at the same time even if in different venues.

Talking more of shared experiences, I was lucky enough to be up with the Junior Boys in the boarding house last night for a little while and, by its very nature, it is a rewarding experience. Lego/Playmobil on the go acting out some castle-based knight’s fantasy battle; some jumping onto bean bags; the occasional disagreement; plenty of giggles; watching a bit of Mr Bean (more giggles); teeth brushing; book reading in one room and listening to Roald Dahl audiobooks (The Witches, last night) in another. All the bits and bobs that make up communal dwelling and plenty of acceptance and tolerance of each other just as with any ‘family’.

I hope your weekend ahead, where we remain limited to our family, contains more giggles than disagreement.

The time of year

Published on: Friday, November 13, 2020

Just at the moment, it seems that the daylight hours are almost perfectly aligned to the main Prep teaching day. In the afternoon, the sun is about to go down as children reunite with parents at the 4.30pm pick up, whilst in the morning the gloom is lifting a little before we get underway - but I have been getting up in the dark for a good while now. The dog’s and chickens’ routines alter at this time; the chickens more than the dog’s. It’s good that the chickens don’t need letting out so early but then Meg and I are often heading out in the darkness after school. She needs her glowing red collar to reassure me where she is and, for her part, she just follows the noise of whatever podcast I am listening to (I’m not a big fan of headphones and usually there’s no one to disturb).

This is one of the more routine and traditional times of the year and, once again, on Armistice Day at 11:00am, we took time to pause and remember the fallen and, once again, it was a stirring occasion. I am sorry we were not able to have parents join us for this and other such events but I do encourage you to commit around 100 seconds to listening to the choir anthem which they sang so beautifully on Wednesday: you should find a link to it later in this Newsletter or on social media.

Lockdown out of school continues, of course, and I hope you enjoy a relaxing and cosy weekend with your families.

Business as usual, but different?

Published on: Friday, November 6, 2020

I hope that heading into Lockdown 2.0 doesn’t cause too many problems for you. Given that schools are staying open, lockdown for me won’t feel too different. I will still be going to work obviously, I don’t very often head into town to browse high street shops and visits to the pub are a rarity. What I will miss though is the chance to have friends round for supper etc. We have a couple of diary entries that will need to be cancelled, sadly.

Our intention remains to see the glass as half full and keep as much of our usual routine and as many of the experiences that make up life at King’s Hall in play – and for the children, actually, it means almost all of it.

We shall still be having our Remembrance service on the 11th at 11am and last night we had a scaled down fireworks display for the boarders - a very quick snippet can be found on Twitter. (Can’t deny that this evening would have been a perfect, chilly, clear night to have had the usual big show with all the families here, though – ho hum.)

Next week we also have a Children in Need fundraiser from the Pupil Council (see later in the Newsletter) and further ahead, Year 8 plays, nativities, the Carol Service, remembering St Nicolas and other Christmas celebrations are all being retained in some form or another.

It is worth noting, that the children are still going to academic lessons, still working hard and making good progress – this is, after all, a core activity in schools and where they spend the majority of their time in a day! There are some exams coming up for some of the older pupils (Year 7 next week) and I do know that they are generally applying themselves sensibly to be able to give a good showing of their abilities. It is always nice to see children with HMCs for simply working hard consistently. I remind the children fairly often, it is cool to work hard – and it certainly makes life easier when you know you have given your best to the key tasks.

I have deliberately not commented in a big way on the US Election here (it’s hard to find any current affairs stories beyond Covid and the US Election at present) but I do want to share the comment of a child: ‘Sir, is it like running the cross country and when you’re in the lead half way through you think you should be given the gold medal?’.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for (ice-cream) half-term!

Published on: Friday, October 16, 2020

Another week passes and, on this occasion, it delivers us to the door of the half term break.

I told the Prep children this morning, having reminded them that seven weeks ago I had said “I need your help” as we embarked on a term that would require us all to take responsibility and look after each other, that today I couldn’t really be prouder of how the whole school has come together and what we have managed to achieve. The ice cream van that appeared after lunch yesterday was not only a nice surprise treat for children and adults but was also a way of saying thank you.

Certainly we have been engaged in the art of the possible without being casual or complacent about the health situation and the collective effort has created a happy and purposeful school to this point. You should find your child’s half term report on MSP on Monday and they make for good reading. Another missive to read next week will be a short half term letter from me but, for now, it is time for a good rest over the next fortnight after which we will need to restart with similar discipline and enthusiasm for what is likely to be a busy and fun packed few weeks leading up to……… no, I can’t quite mention it yet, myself!

Children are a regular source of amusement without intending to be. This morning, one teacher told me that a child had just asked them, “Sir, did you teach Mr Chippendale?”. Of course the idea that either I may be seen as less old or that the teacher in question must be ancient is the amusement, but for a bit of context, and to give the child some credit, the teacher she asked did actually teach her father when he was at King’s Hall!

So, have a good break, and I hope that a metaphorical ice cream van pops up at some point as I am very grateful to you parents, too, for the important part you play in us collectively generating such a positive and encouraging experience for the children.

Yin and Yang

Published on: Friday, October 9, 2020

As well as much of the regular routine and time with children, my week has included many visits from terrific prospective children, more parent-teacher meetings, some remote meetings with IAPS Heads and one with some of the Woodard group too.

The highlight, though, was spending yesterday on Mrs Hardy’s excellent geography field trip: Year 8 are studying the Holford river from source to mouth. I was with 8K and what a wonderful way to spend a day. The children were good company, the surroundings very beautiful and the learning hugely enhanced by the physical experience of measuring/being in the water (as well as the skill with which Mrs Hardy draws the questions and answers out of them). A stop for lunch, a play on Kilve beach and some splashing around with Meg added to the fun and helped lock it all away for later recall.

Today has been a tad more office based and dealing with some of the less glamorous aspects of my job that can’t be avoided. It’s the same for us all, I know, and so no complaints – just the inevitable yin and yang of life.

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