Headmasters Letter 22nd March 2024
22 March 2024

Headmaster's Letter 22nd March 2024

Dear Parents 

“I want it all, I want it all, I want it all....and I want it now” Freddie Mercury 

I don’t think I have ever quoted Freddie Mercury before, and I may not ever again! But at least I might have your attention? Whilst the lyrics to this Queen classic are – I am fairly sure - not making reference to quaint countryside Prep School life, they have been buzzing round my head as I reflect on this amazing term.  

The range and scale of opportunities and achievements for the pupils this term has felt – at times – like we are ‘wanting it all’. From stellar regional and national performances in sports, to unbelievably ambitious musicals performances, concerts and dance shows across the entire school, to brilliant Global Citizenship days, inspiring school trips, charity fundraising, visiting speakers, vegetable planting and much much more, the school has felt a-buzz with activity and ambition and opportunities for the children. All of these, I hope, have contributed not just to a very enjoyable and exciting term for them – but one full of opportunities to develop their character. There are things we can learn about ourselves on a stage, or on a sports pitch, or knee deep in mud, that we can’t learn sat behind a desk! 

But ‘wanting it all’ means that alongside these more adventurous and enriching experiences, children’s continued academic success should still be paramount. Their day to day experience in the classroom, the support they receive to make progress and enjoy their learning, and the continued efforts of our staff to be the very best teachers that they can, must remain a core priority. That’s why we put so much emphasis into ring-fencing time for staff training and professional development at Dumpton, and I want to thank all the staff for their continued efforts, and the way in which they ‘aim high’ for themselves, and for the children.

How wonderful to hear news, therefore, of continued success on this front. This week, five more academic scholarships to Canford were announced (that’s 16 in the last three years, streets ahead of any other school), as well as considerable success at 11+ to the Poole and Bournemouth Grammar Schools and Bishop’s Wordsworth in Salisbury. This all sits alongside strong ongoing evidence in our own academic data and monitoring that children of all ages and abilities are making great progress in the classroom. 

Striking a balance between excellent academic achievement and character education remains a key priority at Dumpton. Not only do we want pupils to get the best set of grades they can: we also want them to become the best person they can be. We ‘want it all’ for your children, and we make no apology for that! 

Scholarship Success 
Well done to Alexander S, Sabela S-V, James B, Sophie Y and Maya D who all earned a very prestigious Academic Scholarship to Canford School in what is always an extremely competitive process. In addition, Tilly A and Indi W have secured Sports Scholarships after excelling on the sports assessment day. That takes the total to 19 scholarships in total for the current Y8 – a fantastic achievement for this relatively small cohort. 

I also wanted to mention the children who went for a scholarship this year but just missed out. Whilst there is obviously disappointment, to even be considered for a scholarship is an honour, and I know each of them has taken so many positive out of the process. We are really proud of them all. 

Mary Poppins and Y8 Performance 
A huge congratulations to all involved in the performances this week. Both casts of Mary Poppins put on an absolutely brilliant show, and Y8 ended the term with their brilliant mash up of Wicked and the Wizard of Oz. I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to the amazing Performing Arts team of Miss Oakes, Mrs Warde and Miss Sophie – their commitment to ensuring as many children as possible get the chance to perform is remarkable. We’re all so grateful that all our children get so many chances to have their moment and shine. 

Easter Egg-citement! 
A huge thank you to the Dumpton Friends, especially Nina Holmes and Kate-Boxer-Missen, but equally all the volunteers who gave up their time to help, for such a wonderful Easter Egg and scavenger hunt this afternoon. It was a joyous way to end term, and thank you all to Mrs Shaw for her coordination, as well as Mrs Brown for serving up so many home cooked biscuits! 

Primary Maths Challenge - Bonus Round 
Congratulations to Chloe G, Flynn B, Harry C & Felix SV who all scored well in the Bonus Round of the Primary Maths Challenge last month.  Three of the pupils narrowly missed out on a certificate. However, Felix did very well to gain a Bronze certificate with his score - a great achievement at this highly competitive level against some of the best mathematicians in the country! 

Reception Pet Show – from Mrs Al-Masri 
Reception hosted their annual pet show on Thursday. It was such a lovely afternoon and we welcomed some very well-behaved pets. The pet show was judged by Mrs Skinner, Mr Moulton and Mrs Morton all of whom commented on the high calibre of animals. There were some special mentions for behaviour, physical appearance and special tricks but it was agreed that all the pets and owners were very much winners at the Dumpton Pet Show. 

Thank you to Nursery Parents - From Mrs Goodwin 
A big thank you to our Nursery parents last week for giving up their time to read to the children; Hayley Martin, Carmen Haycock, Leah Morgan, Henry Clarke and Hannah Elphick; the children really enjoyed your stories and sat beautifully.  

Also thank you to Tommy Elphick from AFC Bournemouth, for running a mini training session for the pre-school children and chatting to them all about his football career.  He told the children how important it was to go to bed early, eat up your vegetables and to be good at school for your teachers, if they wanted to be footballers!!  Thank you Tommy, for your wise words. 

DECA – From Mr Ashworth 
This week the children were treated to a talk with Grant Coleman in DECA. Grant has covered the Olympics many times and gave a fascinating technical insight into how the broadcasting is managed, including the number of cameras deployed in specific events. It was mind-blowing to see the scale of the setup and to imagine how the director manages to capture the emotion and exhilaration of live sport switching between so many different cameras and graphics. The pupils were enraptured and asked excellent questions. Thank you very much to Grant...we may be in touch again in future.   
Science Week - from Mrs Catton
What a superb end to the term with some hand-on science. The Sublime Science workshops were engaging, inspiring, and thought-provoking for the pupils, and the staff too! Pupils enjoyed a range of practical activities from looking at maggots choice chambers; exploring the properties of dry ice and sublimation; rockets; the rate of chemical reactions; and pig lungs in lessons. It was a joy to see the enthusiasm from the pupils and do look out for pictures on our social media platforms. 

We had some super entries for the British Science Week Poster Competition. The top five entries going through were by Bethany W, Lauren M, Toby and Charlotte WS, Amelia C, and Jacob W. The standard was excellent, with highly commended entries by Alexander N, Emeli H, Daisy W, Lola G, Ana and Mia H. Thank you to everyone that entered, it was great to see such a fantastic effort. 

House Cross Country and Regional Finals 
A sensational sporting term finished with a bang as the Prep School Cross Country event took place on Wednesday. The determination and camaraderie on show was superb to see as ever, and well done to every child for giving it their all. The U11 Boys and U11 Girls Hockey teams both had days out at Regional Competitions at Millfield and Clifton College respectively.  Mr Perry, our Bursar coaches both these teams – if there is a Bursar out there better at sports coaching than Justin, I will be very surprised indeed! 

Lunch with the Headmaster – Thursday 25 April 
We continue to work hard to ensure our school food is of the best possible quality, and we are very keen that our parents have the opportunity to see and taste the wonderful lunches that Steph and her team cook for the children on a daily basis. We would like to invite parents, on a first come first served basis, to join the me for lunch on Thursday 25 April. As I am sure you will understand we have had to set a limit on numbers, so it will be a strictly first come, first served basis.

Summer Ball Reminder – Saturday 18 May 
If you have not yet bought your Early Bird Tickets for the Enchanted Woodland Summer Ball, there is still time. It promises to be a wonderful evening and we are really looking forward to sharing it with you all. 

With best wishes for a lovely Easter break. 

Christian Saenger 

Key Events Week Beginning 16/04/2024:         

Week 1: Theme of the Week - Celebrating Other Cultures 


Monday 15 April 

Staff INSET 

School closed to Pupils 

Tuesday 16 April 

Start of Term 

15.30: Pre-Prep Hobbies Begin This Week 

Wednesday 17 April  

8.30: Musical Ducklings Begins 

Thursday 18 April 

7.30: Junior Early Morning Tennis Begins Today 

16.15: DECA Begins Today 

17.45: Sailing Race Training - invitation only 

Friday 19 April 

7.30: Senior Early Morning Tennis Begins Today 

13.00: LAMDA Senior Sessions Begin today 

16.15: Prep School Hobbies Begin Today 


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