Headmaster's Newsletter, Friday 12 November 2021

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| 15 November 2021
Headmasters Newsletter, Friday 12 November 2021

Dear Parents

I have been touring a good number of prospective parents around the school in recent weeks. It is interesting that, almost without exception, at the end of the tour the thing the parents want to talk about is the children they met. Polite and well mannered. Friendly and kind. Brimming with enthusiasm and energy. And, whether it is in Nursery, or in Year 8, always seeming to be going about their business with a smile upon their faces. It creates the loveliest of impressions on our visitors. "I wish my school had felt like this," is a common refrain.

As we emerge from a global pandemic, witnessing Dumpton pupils like this is wonderful - and I hope you as parents are as proud of the way your children have responded to this challenge as I am. What parents may not appreciate is the efforts of our teachers to help create this environment: their day in day out modelling and reinforcing our school values (to Be Kind, to Aim High), having the highest expectations, and building nurturing, warm and positive relationships with pupils. A huge thank you to the children for responding so well to this and for upholding our school values and culture so well - but also to our brilliant staff who 'set the weather' in school each day.

Y7/Y8 Exams
I am so impressed with Y7 and Y8 who sat their exams this week in the Sportshall. It was clear to see how focused and determined they were, and what great preparation and practice for them for some of the more important exams that may follow in the future. Children will receive their results next week - but more importantly focus on areas for improvement, and results will be shared with parents soon after. Thank you to Mr Morgan for his organisation here.

Parents Evenings
We have more Parents’ Evenings in the coming weeks, for both Y7, Y8, as well as Nursery and Pre-Prep, meaning we will have held parents’ evenings for the whole school this term, as part of our desire to provide more timely, more efficient, and more personal means of communication throughout the school. As ever, these are just a starting point - teachers are always welcome to have a discussion about your child's progress at any time in the school year.

Remembrance Service
It was another poignant service yesterday. A huge thank you to Mr Nye for his organisation, and to the choir who sang the anthem (written by Mr Moulton) so beautifully. The children conducted themselves immaculately, and the Y8s reading out the names of the Old Dumptonians who gave their lives was particularly moving. Well done too, to Zoe W for her rendition of 'The Last Post'. A sad occasion, but also an occasion to be extremely proud of our school community.

Mrs Sarah Mudd - Director of Performing Arts
Mrs Mudd spent the day with us on Monday ahead of beginning her role in January. She absolutely loved meeting so many pupils, and hearing their musical and dramatic performances. Working with Mrs Warde who began in September, Mrs Mudd will take responsibility for building on our existing strengths to further raise the profile of the Performing Arts at Dumpton and increase the opportunities for our pupils, and all the wonderful benefits that has. The 'Performing Arts for All' ethos is such a crucial part of life at Dumpton.

Mini Kickers and Dramarama Showcase
These two new Pre-Prep Hobbies have been a great success, and we're delighted that parents will be able to attend during the last week of term and see what the children have been up to. We're in the midst of planning our Pre-Prep Hobbies for the Spring Term, and will announce all of that in due course.

FoDS Christmas Party
I know momentum is gathering for the FoDS Christmas Party, and we are so grateful to the FoDs Team for their organisation here. After a period where it has been so hard for parents to enjoy socialising and getting to know one another, I hope lots of parents will be able to enjoy this evening together. I expect babysitters will be in high demand! It should be a terrific night.

Hope For Food Charity Support
After the Pre-Prep launched into supporting the Hope for Food Reverse Advent Calendar, the Prep School, thanks to the School Council, are also following suit. Well done to the children for being so keen to support others in need during the Christmas period. I think it is always important that children at Dumpton are aware of wider societal issues like this, and this is a big part of our core value, to 'Be Kind'.

Christmas Events
Do check the calendar for upcoming Christmas Events, particularly the Christmas Shows and the Carol Service. We are trying to ensure that we can safely accommodate as many parents as possible to watch these events in person, and whilst it may necessitate a slightly different approach to previous years, we cannot tell you how excited we are to have live audiences again for the Christmas season, and all that extra excitement it brings. 

Maths Week
As part of Maths Week England, pupils in the prep school took part in the 'England Rocks' challenge on Times Tables Rock Stars (TTRS).  As a school, Dumpton finished 27th in the Southern region and in school, 3W were the leading class answering on average just over 1,400 correct questions each. The top individual scores were from Elyssa S, Alex S and Abby W, all of whom are in Year 5, very well done to those three.  In total the pupils managed to answer just over 111,000 questions correctly, which represents an excellent achievement!

Individual School Photographs
A quick reminder that the deadline for ordering photographs is midnight this Sunday (14 November).

And finally.... Matron – Miss Cathy Stokes
After over 30 years of outstanding service, our wonderful Matron Cathy will be retiring at Christmas. It is hard to put into words the immense contribution Cathy has made to Dumpton and its pupils over the years. There will be a chance for all of us to thank Cathy and say goodbye before she goes, and I know that she will remain a part of our community, even in retirement. It just won't feel like the same school without her presence! We wish her the happiest of retirements.

With best wishes for the week-end.

Christian Saenger
Headmaster

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