Headmaster's Newsletter, Friday 11 October 2019

| 11 October 2019

Dear Parents

'We are what we repeatedly do - excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." This gem of wisdom from Aristotle was the cornerstone of our efforts this week to help all pupils understand the habits they can form now which will stand them in great stead for their futures. We have looked to embed this throughout the week through plenty of praise and positive rewards to pupils demonstrating those positive behaviours around school - do see my tweet earlier in the week for a bit more information if you are interested (https://twitter.com/DumptonHead/status/1181194770422611968). 

Parents in the older year groups would have received some communication this week on the ISEB Pre-Test, which some of you will know is now the preferred method of entry assessment for some Senior Schools, such as Canford and Bryanston. We have produced a Pre-Test Guide for Dumpton parents which we hope will answer many of your questions and also outlines our approach to supporting pupils. It has been lovely to hear the positive feedback on how useful that has been, and this is now available on the Parents’ Area (in the Assessments section) for any other parents who might wish to see it. 

Many of you will have noticed that the shifting sands in terms of entry exams into Senior Schools have made the headlines recently, with the future of 'Common Entrance' being put into question in the Sunday Times last week. Not all that reporting was entirely accurate! I will be writing separately to all parents on this topic early next week to hopefully allay any concerns, and outline Dumpton's position on this important facet of Prep school life. 

To our instrumentalists who performed so well at Bryanston on Tuesday. Our pupils had a fantastic day. We were given a wonderful opportunity to play in a large ensemble of approximately 110 pupils taken from 11 different prep schools under the baton of Bryanston's new Head of Jazz, David Andrews. The group of seniors who attended not only benefited enormously from the experience of the day but were also great ambassadors for Dumpton. Well done also to some of our Senior Geographers who won the Prep School Geography competition at Canford on Monday.  We are grateful to both Bryanston and Canford for these opportunities.

World Sight Day
Observed annually on the second Thursday of October, this is a global event meant to draw attention on blindness and vision impairment. Reception classes have been exploring what partial and full vision impairment may feel like. NHS vision screening tests were completed, optician role-play created - even the three bears had their eyesight checked! Harvest fruits were identified by touch only and tasted at snack time! More senses will be explored next week.  

Other News from the Pre-Prep 
Year 1 have been investigating what everyday objects are made from this week. The children were surprised at the number of objects that were made from more than one material and had fun working out if they could make shoes from glass, instead of leather. Fortunately, Cinderella was not present during our discussion!  Year 2 were lucky enough to take part in space week with the science department looking at how the surface of the moon is different to earth.  They were able to do a little practical; dropping rocks into trays of flour to simulate how craters are formed. 

Message from FoDS
We had a very productive meeting earlier this week and are delighted to have been able to recruit a Treasurer for this coming year.  However, we are still looking for support from parents.  We understand completely if your busy lives prevent attendance at frequent meetings, but we would be very grateful to hear from you even if you are able to offer just one hour of your time.  We would be especially pleased to hear from any parents with children in year groups 6 and 7 as these are currently uncovered by the current committee.  We have many great ideas starting to take shape for both children and parents throughout the year and it would be great to have more parents on board fods@dumpton.com

Prep School Hobbies
We will be starting new hobbies after half-term, and the new choices will soon be available for selection on the Parents' Area of the website.  A range of indoor options are already planned, such as Chess, Funtime Science, Christmas Cookery and Film Making but there will also be the option of some outdoor sport for the more hardy amongst us.  

Looking Ahead To Next Week
Next Tuesday Year 1 will be visiting Wimborne Minster and Reception are heading to Wimborne Library where they will be introduced to all of the different books and services on offer.  On Thursday, we have the Year 4 Parents’ Evening (English and Maths) which takes place in the Assembly Hall and a reminder that booking for this closes at 12 noon on Wednesday 16 October.  On Friday, Year 3 will visit the Ancient Technology Centre at Cranborne.

With best wishes
Christian Saenger

PS I do hope that the Rotary Christmas Shoebox flyer has now arrived home with you.  Please bring the wrapped boxes to the Front Hall after half term and by Wednesday 6 November at the latest.  A shoebox mountain would be wonderful to see!