HM Blog Archive
Published on: Friday, June 18, 2021
Gosh – where to start? Arts Week (with an amazing two-man Circus Show to kick us off on Monday morning), the colourful Year 4 production in the Rose Garden, fab author Emma Carroll running workshops, Year 8 having a blast in Devon with gorgeous weather, the Under 11 boys becoming County Cricket Champions yesterday (the U12 boys and both the U13 girls and boys are also in their respective finals coming up), oodles of prospective children in for Taster Days and all week we have had even more children in to board for a couple of nights. And, of course, last week was Year 8 CE exams, Year 6 to Dulverton and Year 3 out on the river. Phew! This is how a summer term is meant to feel – study hard, including exams, and enjoy all the trappings of what’s on offer. (There’s no doubt however that under covid restrictions it is a good deal more demanding on the staff to find ways to make it all happen for the children and keep within guidelines!)
The opportunity to board is one of the great flexible options at King’s Hall and I think not having had it for the last year is one of the greatest casualties of the covid restrictions. It is a well-worn path for children to board increasingly more nights as they get older and it has been so wonderful to have been able to make it accessible again.
As you well know, I hope, whilst also drawing out your full academic potential, developing your sense of who you are, your independence and your ability to entwine your own character traits dove-tailed with those around you to maximum collective benefit is very much what we are about. Sustained time in the supportive, warm, encouraging and boarding environment full of collegiality that exists here is a terrific way to boost this aspect of growing up. It is (without covid!) always possible to take a look around and so, when we return in the autumn, if you have never been into the boarding areas and want to take a look – just ask.
Sadly, the Delta variant has come to cause disruption just as we are heading into some key end of year events. You should have seen my email of yesterday and, whilst the larger gatherings involving parents and visitors will have to be curtailed or even cancelled, we do believe that we will be able to ensure that the children are able to enjoy the vast majority of what they would normally.
Fingers crossed it all plays out as currently planned.
Oh what a circus!
Published on: Friday, June 11, 2021
The return after the break has gone pretty smoothly and already Year 6 have been away for three days on Exmoor, many Year 5s have spent a happy night boarding, this evening Year 3 are on the water and ‘camping’ in school overnight whilst the majority of Year 8 children have completed their CE exams this week. Next week is Arts Week here whilst Year 8 will be enjoying a smorgasbord of activities around Dartmoor and the coast based out of Okehampton on a well-deserved final trip away as a group.
Sadly, I have not had quite so much time out and about having been in various meetings including governors, staff, flexi-planning for the rest of this term and further considerations about September. I did manage a couple of evening meanders around some of the hedgerows about school with Meg. Standard operating procedure involves Meg dashing in to a bush/copse and a couple of bunnies popping out who quietly, calmly and efficiently sidle off to somewhere else. Meg then re-appears panting, looking dishevelled and excited with a look that says ‘Where did they go?’ on her face. The bunnies are far too sophisticated for her blunt MO.
The general sense of the annual cycle being delayed by covid remains and we are still seeing a good number of prospective pupils even at this stage of term. The children love having these additions to classes, events and play times and are excellent company taking great pride in both looking after the visitors and in showcasing their school.
We have quite a few spending a day with us during Arts Week and we’re all looking forward to the circus coming to town in a loose form: some might say it’s a bit of a circus from time to time anyhow!
Time to draw breath
Published on: Friday, May 28, 2021
Half term is here, a bank holiday weekend and it even looks as if the weather is set fair for this one. It also seems that there will be some pretty ropey bank holiday traffic as everyone is keen to get out and about now there is more scope to do so!
Half term breaks are always necessary – they’re included for a reason – and there is a real sense that everyone needs to draw breath and restore energy levels before we press on through the final, happy, whirlwind weeks to close the year. The high levels of commitment, application and fun that have been given across all years mean there are some weary children out there: although you wouldn’t think so looking out of my windows at the moment with Year 4 haring around the front field for their Golden Time games.
Whatever it is you get up to, I hope you can enjoy some peace and quiet and there are a good number of happy, carefree moments along the way.
Published on: Friday, May 21, 2021
I started my day in the Arts Centre where the orchestra were gathering for their weekly rehearsal. It has been so good to have these group activities running and Mr DJ has been brilliant all through the pandemic at maximising the chances to keep group music making going within the guidance. Also, it is terrific to see children taking up the learning of orchestral instruments – it is not something we should take for granted so I encourage you to suggest to and support your child in learning an instrument. The rewards are great and not all overtly apparent: Mr DJ is always delighted to explain the wider benefits if you wish to know more.
Wednesday saw three fortunes combine: the sun was out, girls and boys had cricket matches, spectators were allowed on site! We had a golden few hours when it all came together – and how lovely it was to feel the togetherness. One may not have chatted to every person but you could see other people and we were in the same space and we were sharing the same physical experience. More, please!
Some Year 8 pupils have been working on a mini-project to answer a question of their choice under the loose theme of ‘Planet Earth: Near and Far’ and I thought you might like to see some of the questions they have set themselves. They will be giving presentations to some staff at the end of next week. What are your thoughts on some of these?
How do cultures from different continents view the moon? How do spies and spy agencies operate around the world? How does aboriginal art influence Australian culture today? Why were skyscrapers built and do they have a future? How did Covid-19 affect the world? Why was the Great Wall of China built? Why is research in Antarctica so important? Significant feminists: which key feminists influenced the younger generation? What everyday items have been created by happy accidents and why is this important? How is the psychology of colours used by popular brands? Our disappearing world: what can we do to stop climate change? How and why do LEDC and MEDC countries farm differently? A study in psychology: why do people behave the way they do? How can we live with volcanoes? How has ancient sport influenced sport today? What are the cultural differences between Chinese and British food?
I’ll end with a bit from a conversation with a child whilst I was on lunch queue duty today. Me: “What are you doing at the weekend?”; child: “Ooo, it’s gonna be fun, for Mummy’s birthday Daddy’s got a hot tub for us – it’s not a whole one though.” Furrowed brow from me.
Published on: Friday, May 14, 2021
How many times can you have Happy Birthday sung to you in one day?
Well, in schools it can obviously happen quite a few times as you touch base with different groups of children or adults. When you’re 21 it is even more likely to happen! Mr Eyers has probably heard enough of it today but congratulations to him on his 21st Birthday!
It is also Liz, our lovely catering manager’s, birthday and she is not so far from her 21st that she cannot remember it!
No doubt we are all excited about passing the next milestone in the National Roadmap out of lockdown on Monday. You may even have plans in place to have friends round indoors, or head for a meal. It’ll be nice to have some people indoors - that first week after 12 April was such a cold one as we all braved outside gatherings and found old blankets we didn’t know we still had!!
There will be a few alterations here at school and I will write a message over the weekend but I can tell you one of them will be that Year 7 & 8 children will not need a face covering in school, unless they wish to wear one.
A lovely benefit we already enjoy due to the gradually lifting restrictions and reduced risk of transmissions has been welcoming children in to school for Taster Days. New faces, future possibilities and the pleasure the children gain from sharing their school and the hope of more friendships to make is terrific to have back.
Reading back, there is a background theme in these paragraphs highlighting again how much at whatever age we all value human interaction and being with each other. Enjoy your weekend, which I hope includes some revelry in the company of others – still need those blankets for a day or two!