Headmaster's Newsletter, Friday 22 November 2019

| 22 November 2019

Dear Parents

I am writing this letter fresh from hearing 5C give a wonderful assembly on Mental Health. Of all the outcomes that an education can provide, happiness and well-being should always sit right at the crux of it all. In recent years schools have talked far more about mental health with pupils (just as we would about physical health) and this has been a huge step forward. Giving children an understanding and awareness of their emotions and feelings, and an ability to talk about them and reflect on them, is an important first step on the ladder towards positive mental health in their futures. It is vital work, and something we will no doubt keep at the forefront of our plans.

Exams - The Double Edged Sword!
A huge well done to the Y7s and Y8s for tackling their exams this week with such positivity. This is an area of school life where 'getting the balance right' is so key: on the one hand, we all know that exam experiences can cause children to feel anxious and worried; on the other, they provide a brilliant opportunity to consolidate learning, practice exam technique, and identify current strengths and areas for development. I believe that the messages we give as adults are vital here - if we talk about exams and assessments in positive, growth-orientated language with children, and reassure them that it is not the outcome or the result but the journey that is key, it can help them keep things in perspective. Life is full of obstacles and challenges:  supporting children to take these on with a positive, can-do mindset is part of our job at a Prep School.

Parent Survey
We have had over 90 responses to the Parent Survey in the first day that it has been live which is a very promising start. Please do take this opportunity to have your say on you and your children's experience at Dumpton.  I am very keen that as many parents' views as possible are taken into account. Parents of Nursery children should note that a separate survey will be coming to them in the near future.

It has been another thrilling week on the sports' pitches, with around 200 pupils playing in fixtures of some kind for the school. A huge thank you to all the staff, and particularly Mr Randle, for their continued efforts here.

This week has been a feast of music, with the cello taking centre stage on Thursday. The Cello concert saw all our cellists playing together, and some very special performances from our peripatetic music teachers Mrs Handy and Mr Daish-Handy. A hugely enjoyable and quite inspirational concert, which all our Y3, Y4 and Y5 pupils were lucky enough to watch.  As usual pictures and videos from this event and others can be found here https://www.dumpton.com/school-news.aspx

A reminder to all parents to check and sign planners for the pupils, which still serve a vital purpose in encouraging children to be self-reliant by recording their homework and key information. Tutors check these regularly, and though email is perhaps the preferred mode of communication these days, the planner can still be a useful place to share quick notes between teachers and parents.

Y5 World Toilet Day
Year 5 have been learning about Development and the lives of people living in poverty in developing countries around the world, including the fact that 4.6 billion people worldwide do not have access to a toilet of any kind. They were very keen to support World Toilet Day on Tuesday by selling homemade cakes to raise money to buy a latrine for a community in a developing country, which would cost £60.  However, the effort from the pupils (and parents!) was so outstanding that they managed to raise an amazing £354.  Mrs Cox and Year 5 are now looking very carefully at how this can be best spent to provide access to clean, safe water and preserve human dignity.

Forthcoming Music Concerts 
We are looking forward to a Year 2 Concert next Thursday (28 November) at 2.30 pm in the Recital Room.  Another reminder that the Junior Gala Concert will be at 4.30 pm on Friday 29 November.  We are anticipating a very full programme so will start promptly in an attempt to finish before the buses depart.  Please remember to amend your bus arrangements if you will take your child home directly after the concert.  Finally, the Senior Gala Concert will take place at 5.30pm on Friday 6 December – any children performing that usually travel by bus on this day will need to be collected by their parents following the concert.

End of Term Arrangements
Mr Nye will write to you separately next week, outlining arrangements for the last day of term including the seating plan for the Carol Service.  It goes without saying that we are all very much looking forward to the festive season at Dumpton.

Best wishes
Christian Saenger