Headmaster's Newsletter, Friday 6 November 2020

| 06 November 2020

Dear Parents

Happiness at Dumpton
This week we have discussed mental health, and emotions in general, in assemblies with both the Pre-Prep and the Prep School. The joyful, uplifting form assembly from 4R was such a marvellous message to us all about finding our own happiness and positivity at the moment - do click here to have a quick watch school-news.aspx

Nothing is more important than our children's happiness. Sadly, this is something we can never take for granted. We live in a world which is increasingly complex for young children to navigate - and on top of all that, they are also coping, as we all are, with the wide-ranging impacts of a global crisis which continues to linger, and will do for some time yet. 

We hope the nurturing environment at Dumpton, the warm and friendly atmosphere, the kindness we promote and the enjoyable and stimulating curriculum - both in and out of the classroom - gives children the best possible chance of being happy whilst at school. We also know that all pupils, for various reasons, from time to time may need more support than that. We are here for them - and for you too. From our excellent, compassionate form tutors, who will always have a listening and empathetic ear, to our experienced safeguarding team, to Mrs Wakefield, who is our nominated emotional support teacher, we hope we can provide support for any child who is struggling with their emotions or their mental health. We also have access to external advice and professional support when required.

The last few months have been tough for everyone in all sorts of ways. The support that parents have shown Dumpton throughout this all has been truly appreciated. Do remember that we are all here for you and your families too. With that in mind, I am delighted to share an invitation to all Dumpton parents to a talk entitled 'Emotions Matter - How to look after your own mental health, and the mental health of your children', delivered by Lulu Luckock, an expert in emotional intelligence and wellbeing for young children. A flyer is attached - we do hope many of you will join us.

Face Coverings
From Monday, as a result of the updates to Government guidance for this second lockdown, all Y7 and Y8 pupils will be asked to wear face coverings in any communal areas of the school where effective social distancing is harder to achieve. This will include in corridors between lessons, in toilets, in the lunch hall (when not sat down at a table), and in changing rooms. All staff will also be adhering to these guidelines.  Please could parents help ensure that all Y7 and Y8 pupils bring a suitable face covering to school on Monday.

Pupils will not need to wear face coverings in the classroom during their lessons, or at any time when outside. We will be discussing the safe and effective use of masks with pupils on Monday morning, including how to wear them effectively, how to remove them, and how to store them when not being used. We will be able to provide spare masks in school should a pupil lose or forget their masks.

I would remind all pupils and parents again of the importance of wearing face coverings on the minibuses - this applies to all Y7 and Y8, and we would strongly encourage this for younger children too.

Layers and Coats
With the weather turning colder, and also with the need for ongoing ventilation in rooms, we want to ensure children will not get too cold during the winter months. Please do consider extra layers for your child underneath their uniform during colder periods. Pre-Prep children have the option to wear their navy tracksuit bottoms to school. We also have Dumpton hats, gloves and scarves, which are in stock at Bartletts. Prep School pupils can also wear their Dumpton fleece-lined tracksuit tops around school for warmth should they need to. We are also happy, given the current circumstances, for pupils to bring in and wear any warm coat from home, which can be kept in classrooms and worn at break times if required. As ever, please do ensure anything your child brings to school is clearly named.

After School Club in Pre-Prep 
I am so grateful to the Pre-Prep ASC team for keeping our wrap-around care going this term. There is dispensation in the latest guidance on Lockdown 2 to continue wrap-around care to support working families, so this will continue throughout the lockdown. However, please be aware that we are now at maximum capacity for After School Club and can no longer take additional bookings.

Canford Pre-test
A huge well done to the Y6 pupils who sat the Pre-test for Canford School on Tuesday. They approached that test with great positivity and determination - we know, whatever the results, that they all did themselves proud.

House Football
I was delighted to see the House flags blowing in the breeze this week for the House Football. Mr Randle and the games staff have done a marvellous job for this shortened football season, and it was wonderful to see the girls and boys playing together for their houses with so much confidence and a healthy sense of competition. The winners of the House Football Competition this year are... Dorset!  Please be reassured, all goals have been counted...! We move onto Hockey for the girls and Rugby for the boys from Monday - please don't forget gumshields.

Y7 and Y8 Exams
Best of luck to Y8 for their exams next week, and Y7 the week after. This is a great chance to consolidate your learning and understand areas for improvement. Do your very best, but do not put yourself under any more pressure than you need to! 

Remembrance Service
The Dumpton Remembrance Service is a poignant and moving moment for anyone connected with the school. Circumstances dictate doing things differently this year, and we will be broadcasting this live via Zoom - do please join us at 10.45am on Wednesday via the normal Assembly link. It will be wonderful to share this service with the whole school community - including any grandparents or extended family who may wish to join us.

With best wishes
Christian Saenger