children talking outside sat on benches

Headmaster’s Weekly Newsletter, 29th April 2022

Posted: 4th May 2022

Dear Parents,

Friends of HCH Summer Fête

This morning I had the great pleasure to meet with parents at the Friends’ Coffee Morning to discuss creating a stronger bond with parents and the school and possibilities of bringing the community together more often. It was lovely to hear different ideas of how to connect, open our gates to our community, and generally spend more time together. Please see this message from the Friends about our Summer Fete:

‘On Sunday 19th June from 1-4pm, we will be holding our long awaited Summer Fete, which promises to be an afternoon of many fun and exciting activities for all ages. As it is Father’s Day, we will also be organising something special for the Dads… all will be revealed. But please SAVE THE DATE and we hope to see as many members of our community there as possible! ‘

#strongertogether (Part 1)

We were delighted to have been visited by Dukes Chairman Aatif Hassan at the end of last week. Aatif taught our Year 10 Maths pupils some creative ways to think about maths and why mastering numbers is an excellent skill. He also answered many questions about his journey, how he persevered through challenging times, and why he is so passionate about education. Thought-provoking and inspirational, the session was well received by everyone.

Other esteemed Dukes colleagues have also been spending much time at HCH. I am delighted to announce that our Deputy Head Pastoral, Amy Burgess, is pregnant and will be leaving us at half-term to start her maternity leave (she will return to us in January 2023). Nick Shaw, Deputy Head Pastoral and DSL at Dukes Heathside School Hampstead, will be her replacement and will spend the next few weeks at HCH preparing for the transition by shadowing Amy, getting to know our systems and processes, and building relationships with the children. I very much look forward to introducing him to you at the earliest opportunity.

We are also benefitting from regular weekly visits from Kate Vintiner, Head of Heathside School (and my mentor), who has been an outstanding source of wisdom and support for me, our SLT and the whole school. Those of you who met Kate at our Anti-Bullying Parents’ Workshop will attest to her incredible insight and knowledge on how to ensure we provide solid foundations for our young people to thrive and flourish. Indeed, Kate is proving to be an invaluable critical friend who is going to help us build on the successes of HCH. I look forward to introducing Kate to all of you at some point soon.

Nebula Research Project

We were honoured to have Sanjeev Gupta and his colleagues here this week to work together with Krissie West and our Year 12 students on the Nebula Research Project. This exciting programme will provide our Sixth Formers with the necessary skills to thrive at university and beyond and is an excellent example of how our parents can actively contribute to the learning at the school. Thank you, Sanj!

Inclusivity and Diversity

We are all very proud that our Head of Learning Support for Secondary and beloved colleague, Talat Khan, was a guest speaker at the Independent Schools SEND Conference this week. We are fortunate to have such an outstanding SEND expert on our staff (alongside Emma Poskitt) who is so passionate about inclusivity and supporting all of the pupils’ needs.


The dates for the HPV1 jab have been confirmed: Monday 9th May for Years 9 & 10 and Wednesday 8th June for Year 8. For more information on the vaccine, please see: Who should have the HPV vaccine? – NHS – NHS (

British Museum Trip

On Wednesday, Year 10 & 11 went to the Science Museum. They visited the Information age gallery where they discovered how Cable, Broadcast, Exchange, Constellation, Web and Cell technologies evolved. They learnt how wireless saved many lives on the Titanic and spread news of the disaster to the world within hours. They explored Enfield Telephone Exchange and the last manual telephone switchboard.

The pupils then went to the Making-Modern-World gallery which presents some of the Museum’s most remarkable objects such as the Apollo 10 command module, Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 1, Crick and Watson’s DNA model and the first Apple computer. Their thoughts were provoked from objects such as the penicillin from Fleming’s laboratory, a porcelain bowl salvaged from Hiroshima and a clock that will tell the time for the next 10,000 years.

They then went to visit Engineer Your Future gallery. This aims to encourage and inspire our children to think about engineering careers. On the way to this gallery, they explored the flight section where they got close to airplanes suspended in the air. They explored a Supermarine S6B racing seaplane, Hawker P1127, which led to the Harrier jump-jet fighter and a complete section of a genuine Boeing 747 jumbo jet. They all thoroughly enjoyed the outing and learnt something new in the field of science and technology.

Early Years Fun

The Early Years children had a wonderful time at PICNIC in Kingston on Thursday, when they all took on the role of being busy adults for the day. These roles ranged from being a fire fighter, builder, police officer to being a performer in a show, hair dresser or shop assistant. The children had hours of fun dressing up, posting mail, stacking shop shelves and treating ill patients in a medical centre. The learning experience was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and I understand even the staff enjoyed themselves and had plenty of fun!

#strongertogether (Part 2)

I would like to introduce to you the Dukes Club, and excellent initiative from Dukes that has been designed to benefit all of the adults in the Dukes wider community. Please see the following message from the Dukes Club:

We are so excited to officially announce the launch of the Dukes Club! The Club platform will go live on Tuesday 3rd May, so please do keep an eye out for a link next week, to register to join.

At Dukes Education we live by our tagline – ‘Together we’re extraordinary’. Because, at Dukes, we believe in the power of people, and the magic that happens when we come together as a community.

Which is why we have launched the Dukes Club, a space where Dukes’ parents, pupils, staff, and alumni can connect.

Belonging to the Dukes Club will give you and your family access to expert advice from leaders in the worlds of education and parenting. We will keep you in the know with the latest information, invite you to fun family events and exclusive social soirees, and offer you and your children opportunities to enjoy adventures of a lifetime. The Dukes Club will be a chance for you to find a mentor or work experience for your child, to network among like-minded individuals or just make some new friends.

If you are a parent with a child at a Dukes Education school, college or nursery, or using one of our Beyond the Classroom businesses, we warmly invite you to join. As a growing family of schools, our scale and scope enables us to provide you with exclusive access to a huge array of opportunities that would simply be beyond the reach of any single school.

Our first two events will be available to book next week, but do save the dates if you are interested!

Gallery Tour with Candy Cave – 12th of May 4pm
Candida Cave is the founding Principal of Hampstead Fine Arts College. She has taught art history for many years and lectured at National Gallery, V & A, the British Institute Florence. She has also led numerous study tours in Paris, Florence, Rome, Venice, Berlin, Vienna and Madrid.  She studied Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford and completed her MA in History of Art at Buckingham University.Join Candida for a guided tour the Courtauld Gallery’s 19th and 20th Century paintings by artists including Monet, Manet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin.

Gyles Brandreth on the 7 Secrets of Happiness – 12th of May at 6pm
Join Gyles Brandreth to explore the role of happiness in our lives.
Gyles Brandreth – author, broadcaster, ex-MP, star of Celebrity Gogglebox and Just A Minute, founder of the Poetry Together project bringing young people and old people together through learning poetry by heart – is fascinated by happiness: who gets to be happy, how and why. He explored the subject of happiness with the Irish psychiatrist, Dr Anthony Clare, and in this special Dukes Club talk Gyles reveals ‘the 7 secrets of happiness’. Research suggests that happy people live seven years longer than unhappy people, so this is an evening that could extend your life as well as enhance it!

Dukes Club v9 (

Save the Dates

Wednesday 18th May, Ukraine Fundraiser (tickets here: An Evening of Arts: Ukraine Crisis Appeal Fundraiser Tickets, Wed, May 18, 2022 at 5:30 PM | Eventbrite)

Thursday 16th June, Their Future Today gala dinner at Hampton Court House (more information forthcoming)

#strongertogether (Part 3)

Thank you to all of you who attended the informal parents’ evenings this week. I appreciated the opportunity to explain our rationale for curriculum changes but, more importantly, I really appreciated your valuable feedback and thoughts. What is abundantly clear after all of these discussions is that we are all ultimately on the same page: we want the best learning outcomes for your children. I am extremely pleased to be working in partnership with such an engaged and insightful parent community. This provides me with an immense sense of optimism for HCH in the years to come. Thank you.

I wish you all a lovely long weekend with your families.

Best wishes,