Headmaster's Newsletter, Friday 15 November 2019

| 18 November 2019

Dear Parents

I was fortunate enough to attend a conference at Eton College on Wednesday, the subject of which was 'Character Education'. This is a hot topic in education at the moment, with the Government keen to ensure schools are not just focussing too narrowly on harnessing intellect, but also growing character and developing the attributes to lead a happy and successful life. As you will know, this has always been a particular strength of the independent sector, and it was exciting to hear some of the latest research on how we might further improve our ability to develop character within schools. But of course, this is nothing new! Many many years ago, Socrates asked Protagoras, the greatest intellectual of his era, what a student stood to gain if he was educated by him. His answer captured the purpose of education in wonderfully simple terms: "Each day he spends with me, he will become a better person." What a noble duty we all have as both teachers and parents of children.

Remembrance Day
Remembrance Day was observed with great respect and poignancy by the entire school community on Monday. We observed two minutes’ silence at 11 am when pupils in the Prep School and the Pre-Prep placed wreaths of poppies by the War Memorial and the Year 8 pupils read out the names of all of the old Dumptonians who gave their lives in the service of our country.

Year 7 and Year 8 Exams
We wish all pupils in Year 7 and Year 8 the best of luck for their exams next week. These are just internal exams - but a good chance for pupils to have some exam practice, consolidate their knowledge and show where they are at this point in the year.

Parent Survey
I will be sending out a Parent Survey next week. It will be a great opportunity to hear feedback from you all on various areas of school life. That feedback will certainly play a key role in the school's strategic planning moving forwards, so I would be grateful if as many as possible of you could make some time to complete it. As I tell pupils all the time “feedback is a gift”.

Dumpton Parliament
Pupil input on how Dumpton could become even better is just as important to me, and it was a pleasure to meet the Dumpton MPs on Thursday for our first session. They have been tasked with going back to their 'constituencies' to canvass opinions and discuss some areas of school life ahead of our next session in two weeks.

Main Car Park
The main school car park used for drop off and pick-up is closed with a gate between 9 am and 3 pm. This is to ensure that pupils are safe when they move through that space during the school day. We are very grateful to parents for using the top car park if they know they will need to be in school during those hours.

Bronze Merit Badges
Congratulations to the following pupils who are the first to achieve 100 Merits this academic year - a fantastic achievement. They received their Bronze badges in assembly this morning: Lissy A, Alexander S, Sofie Y, William C, Charlie R and Heather H.

Primary Mathematics Challenge
Congratulations to all the Year 5 and Year 6 pupils who took part in the recent Primary Mathematics Challenge. I am pleased to announce that Joshua DLH, Hector C, William C, Joseph K, Zoë W, Alice H and Pippa R all won Gold Awards. They will be presented with their certificates in an Assembly very soon.

News from the Pre-Prep
We were very proud of the exemplary behaviour of all the Pre-Prep children for our Remembrance Service on Monday. Coco and Alexander were wonderful ambassadors when laying their wreath. Rehearsals for the Year 2 Christmas production, “The Magical Christmas Jigsaw” are now in full swing. Please continue to support the children with their lines at home thinking about adding expression! Year 2 are busy preparing not only for their Christmas Play but also for our instrumental concert, which takes place on Thursday 28 November at 2.30 pm in the Recital Room. After the concert parents will have the opportunity to talk to the instrumental teachers.

From the Geography Department
Year 5 will be supporting World Toilet Day on Tuesday 19 November by holding a FairTrade cake sale to raise money to buy safe water and a latrine for a developing country. This afternoon 5C have participated in the first of the Y5 Geography Cocoa Workshops during PSHE. They made some chocolate 'from-bean-to-bar' with Mrs Brown – this links with their work on Development and cocoa farming in Ghana.

Christmas Steak & SA Wine Night at Zim - Final Reminder
Bookings will close very soon for this event, which takes place on Thursday 21 November – there is still time to email fods@dumpton.com if you would like to come along.
With best wishes,

Christian Saenger