children talking outside sat on benches

Headmaster’s Weekly Newsletter, 11th February 2022

Posted: 11th February 2022

Drama Showcase

It was with a sense of exuberance that pupils from Years 6-9 hit the stage on Tuesday evening for the Drama Showcase. Watching pupils come to life during their performances was inspirational and it was clear that they thoroughly enjoyed the process. I would like to thank Jess for the hours she spent rehearsing with the children. Jess has commented: “The Drama Showcase was a lovely event and this is all thanks to the hard-working students at HCH. Rehearsals began in the first week of January and students used the month to perfect their individual scenes. There were a range of performances, some from drama lessons and others from my weekly drama club. I was most impressed with how diligently students rehearsed and all this preparation really paid off on the night. The performances were captivating and emotive, reflecting the talent and determination that these students possess. I couldn’t be prouder of the performers, hosts and backstage crew!”

Arctic Trip – Snowshoeing and Shelter Building

A group of 23 HCH students from Years 9–13 arrived safely at Tankavaara, Finland, yesterday to begin their Arctic trip. Everyone is having a great time and sending through many photos to make those of us here feel jealous! After settling into their cabins and having dinner yesterday they were able to go on a magical night walk. Today the students were given their personal development booklets in order to track their progress on individualised tasks based on their strengths and weaknesses. They then practised walking in snowshoes and after lunch they learned how to build a snow cave. They have spent the rest of the afternoon building their own snow caves. Thank you Katie and Sam for sacrificing their half-term breaks to provide this once-in-a-lifetime experience for the pupils.

A Level English Literature trip to the National Theatre

Our sixth form English Literature students had a wonderful time in London on Wednesday at the National Theatre’s acclaimed dramatic adaptation of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights (one of the students’ key set texts). Before the performance, they went on a London literary walk inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (another set text). Taking the route walked by the titular Clarissa Dalloway at the start of the novel, they began at her house in Great College Street, Westminster. They then followed Clarissa across St. James’s Park and up to Bond Street, even stopping in at Hatchard’s, the bookshop into whose window Clarissa looks on her walk. Finally, the group arrived at the National Theatre on London’s South Bank. Emma Rice’s production of Wuthering Heights was full of music and dance, with live musicians on stage throughout, and several jokes which Brontë definitely did not write! (Rob has informed me that it was a testament to how well our students know the novel, that ten pairs of eyebrows shot up at every deviation from the text!) It was so good, after the travails of COVID, to be able to experience live theatre again, and they all – Jo and Rob included – found their appreciation and understanding of this incredible novel deeply enriched by the experience. A wonderful day and evening!

Sue Ransom and Storytelling

Further to last week’s update on National Storytelling Week, a number of people have asked for details on where they can purchase visiting author Sue Ransom’s works. You can find a complete list of her works available for purchase directly from her publisher: https://nosycrow.com/contributor/s-c-ransom/

Conversations with the Headmaster

This week I had the great pleasure of meeting with one of our Head Students, Katie Swangard, the inaugural guest for this new initiative. Please follow this link to watch the interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tI9gJ6AANr4

I really enjoyed speaking to Katie and look forward to conversing with other members of the community in the weeks to come.

New Website

Our new website was launched this afternoon and I hope you like the refreshed aesthetic and much improved user experience as much as we do! https://www.hamptoncourthouse.co.uk.

The website content will continue to be updated over the next few months, so if there is anything you would like to see on the website, please let our Marketing Manager Samuel Parker know via email at sjp@hchnet.co.uk. A key addition to our new site is the Parent Portal button at the bottom of the homepage which will take you directly to the iSAMS login. Thank you to all staff who continue to work hard on keeping website content fresh, relevant and informative for all visitors. I would also like to extend a special thank you to Sam for all of the hard work he has done to get this project over the line. He is such a fantastic addition to our HCH team.

Science Week and Parent Volunteers

We are celebrating British Science Week during the week commencing 24th March. If any of you have a career in STEM and would be willing to come and talk to the students during an assembly, please contact me and/or Thomas McCarthy-Ward, our Head of Science (tjmw@hchnet.co.uk). I would love to hear your story, and I know our children would, too.

Community Garden
The community garden is coming along extremely well thanks to the amazing dedication and hard work of Hannah and Vicki. We would like the garden to become a place where we upcycle as much as possible and to start this idea, for ‘Nature Day’ on the 22nd April, please save a few containers into which we can plant our seeds. Individual yogurt pots, for example, are perfect. We will be asking the children to wear something related to ecology on Nature Day and to bring in £1 to go towards buying seeds, compost, etc.

Kindness

For the last few weeks I have been teaching Year 4 English, which I have relished. What I appreciate the most is the opportunity to spend much more time with the children, something that sadly many headteachers are unable to do. What has impacted me the most, however, is how I have been able to see first-hand the kindness, cooperation and empathy between the children during their academic lessons. It has been wonderful to experience and I want to thank the Year 4 class for who they are and how they look out for each other, and Julie, our wonderful Year 4 Form Tutor, for everything she is doing to foster this ethos.

I know your children are looking forward to their well-deserved break (many of them have told me they are very much looking forward to sleeping in!). I hope you have a wonderful time catching up with them and enjoying your time together as a family. For those of you travelling abroad, I wish you safe travels and wonderful adventures.

Adrian