As we make our way through January I am buoyed by the longer days and the beautiful sunshine that we experienced this week, despite the chill in the air. Paul Pearce, our new Deputy Head Academic, has been entranced since starting at HCH and has made a point of reminding all of us about how fortunate we are to work in such a beautiful place (not that I think anyone takes this for granted!).
Year 11 Parents’ Evening
Thank you to the Year 11 parents and Year 11 teachers this week for trialling parents’ evening online. We are looking at implementing SchoolCloud for all of our parents’ evenings as a way to make the evenings more effective and convenient for both parents and staff. Please note that even though our parents’ evenings will be online, you can always arrange a face-to-face meeting with our teaching staff at any point to discuss your child.
New Year 9 Options
Year 9 pupils and parents are embarking on the exciting process of choosing GCSE options. I am pleased to announce that we have added Drama and Music as preliminary options and I am extremely curious to see if there is enough interest from the pupils to offer these courses. As I have discussed on a few occasions, I really would like to continue to bolster the expressive and performing arts at HCH and I see this as one way of doing so.
Year 8 Assembly: Study Skills
The Year 8 conducted an inspiring assembly for the Middle Years pupils this week on Study Skills, which was this week’s topic. They shared their experience of what helped them focus and learn more efficiently, not only for exams but also for acquiring new skills. They focused their assembly on the art of mind mapping and explained how mind maps are a powerful note-taking method. This is also a great tool to organise, plan and summarise ideas. Thank you to the Year 8 students who acted as role models and spoke so eloquently to their younger peers.
Bruno Hawkins (Y13), who is Head Wellbeing Champion, spoke to Year 5-13 students about a new student initiative called ‘Talking Space’. Talking Space is a place where students can speak with a student older than them about things that are troubling them and where they can have a friendly person to lean on when needed. He has asked for volunteers from Years 5-13 who will receive training on Active Listening, Youth Mental Health, and when to speak to a teacher. Thank you so much to Bruno for leading this wonderful initiative.
TED-Ed Student Talks Programme
Following on from Amy’s email earlier this week, we are looking for pupils to identify, develop and deliver their amazing ideas via TED style presentations. I would love as many pupils as possible to get involved in this initiative. The skills they will develop from engaging in this project will help them in so many ways. If your child would like to get involved, please ask them to attend the meeting on Wednesday 26th January from 4.15-5.00pm in the Main Hall.
We opened our doors to 74 children this week who are hoping to join us in September. Thank you to Natalie and Sommer in Admissions for facilitating the exams and to Rob and the English department and Anja and the Maths department for all of the extra work assessing the exams.
I just wanted to remind parents (and pupils) that we have many clubs on offer every day and that we strongly encourage the children to get involved. A few of the clubs are full but there are many interesting clubs that still have ample space. We will send out a list of all clubs on Monday and I hope you can encourage your children to get involved. I am going to try Matthew’s dance club!
HCH and Nature
We are blessed to have such an amazing site and sightings of rabbits, foxes, herons, beautiful birds are commonplace. However, we had an unusual and unexpected visitor this week. Andrei found this pristine male greater stag beetle on the school site. This harmless giant is Europe’s largest beetle, the “antlers” are used by the males for fighting and cannot actually deliver a bite to humans. This species is endangered throughout Europe but locally common near parkland in South London, with Bushy Park being an important breeding ground. Stag beetles spend most of their lives as grubs, feeding on decaying wood. They typically emerge in May-August to breed. Seeing one active in January is very unusual. We called the People’s Trust for Endangered Species to get advice on why a summer insect might be active now and they suggested that the recent warm period could have caused it to wake early. Once the beetle has been shown to and discussed with students, he will be released into the grass pile which is an ideal site for him to sleep off the rest of winter and spring ready to emerge at the right time in the summer. Thank you to Thomas for looking after him so well!