Headmasters Letter 9th June 2023
09 June 2023

Headmaster's Letter 9th June 2023

Dear Parents

This week at Dumpton, our theme of the week was ‘Living our Values.’ You will not, I hope, need reminding of our core values at Dumpton. ‘Be Kind’ and ‘Aim High’ sit at the heart of what we do, and it is these values that help create the culture in the school - nurturing, friendly and supportive, as well as energetic, positive and aspirational.

But what is it that makes our school values and culture so crucial? Behavioural science research shows us that humans are incredibly susceptible to the social norms around us. This is even more true for impressionable children, who take their cues, often subconsciously, from their environment. How do those around me behave? How do they talk to teachers? How do they treat one another? Do my peers apply themselves in lessons or do ‘just enough’? Do my peers give up if they make a mistake or keep trying? Do my peers want to answer questions in class or sit back and let someone else try? Children make hundreds of decisions every single lesson – all influenced by ‘the norms’ of what they see and hear around them. 

Our culture at Dumpton, therefore, is absolutely vital – I am quite fond of the phrase that ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’. The staff team here work incredibly hard each and every day to explain our values and behaviours to the children, to model them, to reinforce them at every opportunity, and, absolutely crucially, to praise and reward pupils publicly when they uphold our values. We give out 1000s of merits, certificates and postcards to celebrate success: these are an important message not only to that child, but also to their peers, about our expectations and the behaviours and habits we want them to form. Giving these rewards out to smiling, proud children – as I did this morning to many children in the Juniors – is one of the great pleasures of my role. 

Congratulations Year 8 
Talking of ‘Aiming High’ a big well done to our Y8s who finished their Common Entrance and Dumpton Certificate Exams today. They are a terrific bunch who have worked so hard towards their goals – not just this year, but across their time at Dumpton. They now embark on a richly deserved Leavers’ Programme which promise to be a brilliant end to their time at Dumpton. 

Y7 Hike
Y7 finished their exams this week too, and they are looking forward to the Y7 hike on Friday in the Purbecks. We're so lucky to have such stunning landscape nearby for the children to adventure in - and it's very much part of the culture here at Dumpton to ask the children to challenge themselves in the great outdoors. We feel sure they'll have a brilliant experience, and my thanks to Mr Cox as ever for his organisation and promotion of outdoor learning opportunities.

Maths Competencies 
Thank you to all parents who are supporting children at home with their maths competencies, an initiative that runs from Reception right through to Y8 to help children master some of the key ‘maths facts’ which – if memorised – will help them hugely with more complex maths when they are older. As I said to children in assembly yesterday when giving out certificates – it is not a race! Some children learn things faster than others, but if (like me!) it takes longer, don’t give up! Practice is key. Although it may feel old fashioned, everything we have learnt about cognitive science shows us that learning things off by heart is absolutely crucial to children’s learning – and even those of us who find this more tricky can get there with the right attitude and the right support. 

IAPS Swimming 
We are very proud of Millie N, Mason E and Izzy B who competed in this years IAPS Swimming National Finals at the London Aquatics Centre.  All three pupils made it through to their event finals, each improving the time that they set in their heats.  Izzy came 10th in the U11 Backstroke final, Mason came 7th in the U13 backstroke final and Millie came 4th in the U12 freestyle final. Very well done to all and thank you to Mr Jeremiah for supporting the children at this event.

Cricket vs Port Regis 
We have been so impressed by the progress made by all cricket teams this year, and the match reports of the games against Port Regis are a delight to read. I would pick out the comment from the U10A Port Regis coach, who described our U10A team as ‘the best school team he has ever seen at that age group’. High praise indeed! This week's sports reports can be found here 

Dumpton Parent/Staff Cricket Team vs Bryanston Staff 
We had a delightful evening of cricket on Tuesday evening, superbly hosted at Bryanston School. Although we lost with 2 balls to spare, it was hugely enjoyable, and a lovely chance for staff and parents from all parts of the school to get to know one another. A return fixture is planned for the 27th and it would be lovely to hear from any more Mums or Dads who are keen to have a game – do look out for the information on Classlist in due course. 

Charity Fundraising Team
A huge thank you to the charity fundraising team, a group of pupils who through their own initiative independently organised and ran a range of charity fundraising activities today. What is most pleasing is the way this was driven by the pupils themselves - this is 'Global Citizenship' in action, and I do hope each and every one of these pupils has recognised  their ability to make a positive impact on the world. My thanks to Mr Tridgell for the support and guidance he gave the group.

With best wishes for a lovely weekend.

Christian Saenger


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