Headmaster's Newsletter, Friday 7 February 2020

| 07 February 2020

Dear Parents

Do we ever give up? If, so why? And what would happen if we didn't? These were questions I posed to the Prep School during assembly this week. I shared a story about the selection to the elite Special Boat Squad - and how it was not necessarily the strongest, or the quickest, or the brightest people who got selected - it was the toughest. Those who could keep going in the face of difficulty. Those who didn't give up, even when the going got tough. Those who had the most resilience or – as we might refer to it - 'grit'. 

It seems to me that a good dose of grit is a gift we would want for all our children. The good news is that grit is not a 'fixed' quality: given the right conditions, it can be nurtured and grown. Angela Duckworth, a world leading researcher in this area, suggests that - a little like exercising a muscle - a child builds their resilience if they are given more and more opportunities to be resilient. A typical week for a Dumpton pupil is likely to give this particular muscle plenty of exercise: finally grasping some challenging maths, mastering a difficult musical piece, coping successfully with social dynamics, conquering nerves to perform on stage, successfully building a shelter down in the woods, or coming from behind to win a game of sport. I do hope this newsletter, and also our social media feeds (click here) give you a strong sense of the range of activities in and out of the classroom that help our pupils develop important character traits like grit.

For any parents interested in finding out a bit more about 'grit', do have a quick listen to Angela Duckworth's excellent TED Talk here, and I can highly recommend her book too.

Model United Nations
On Thursday, Ava B, Alexander B, Cameron C, Gigi G and Joe S from Year 7, travelled to Clayesmore Senior School for a Model United Nations event. Here they represented Brazil on important global issues, such as climate change, girls' education and government surveillance. At the end of a busy afternoon in debate with pupils from several other Prep Schools, the Dumpton/Brazil team came away with either commendations or prizes in each committee and were also awarded "Best Delegation”. It is wonderful to see us being so successful in such a testing and challenging competition.

News from the Pre-Prep
The children in Year 2 were super excited to experience World Food Day on Wednesday 5 February - with one of them waking at 5am in anticipation! Mrs Brown began the day by teaching the children about how some foods have medicinal properties, such as turmeric to help with inflammation and ginger to aid an upset stomach. These spices were both part of the first dishes of the day - Indian-inspired rice and Chinese noodles with black fungus, lotus root, bamboo and water chestnuts. After break time, every child made their own spring rolls using rice paper, cucumber, carrots and coriander. The afternoon was then dedicated to desserts with a creamy coconut black rice pudding, minty pineapple, mango and papaya. We were all very proud of the children for trying so many different foods from around the world that they had never tried, seen or even heard of before! A big 'thank you' must go to Mrs Brown for her enthusiasm, organisation and, of course, culinary skills throughout the day.

Sporting Success
Huge congratulations to the U11A team for their victory in the In2 Hockey Tournament. They came home with their trophy, with excellent victories against many of the strongest teams in the area. It was a very promising set of results too for our Girls’ Netball teams, who came out on top in the majority of their matches against Castle Court this week, playing some pretty scintillating Netball at times.

Easter Holiday Club - Reminder
Just a reminder that Mrs Tulodziecki is looking into the feasibility of running an Easter Club this year (Monday 23 March to Friday 27 March).  The sessions would be open to pupils from Year 1 to Year 8 and would include an exciting mix of arts and crafts, cooking and team games. This is our last call for interest: do complete the online form which may be found on the Parent’s Area of the website or by clicking this link Easter Holiday Club by Friday 14 February.

Mock Common Entrance 
Year 8 pupils will be sitting their mock CE exams on the Monday to Wednesday after half term. The revision list is already available on the Parents’ Area of the website and the Year 8 pupils will be given a timetable before the end of next week.   The Year 8 pupils preparing for scholarship exams will follow a separate timetable.

Lunchtime Concert
We are looking forward to a packed Lunchtime Concert next Friday (14 February) from 1.30 pm in the Recital Room.  Parents are all welcome, as ever.

A Message from FoDS: Want to improve your cookery skills?
Please join Sue Brown (Food Tech Teacher and Leiths trained chef) on Friday 28 February straight after drop off for a fun cooking experience. You will learn how to make Soda bread, Italian Bread and delicious Cinnamon Swirl Buns in a relaxed environment (Food Tech Room).   The best thing is that you get to take home your wonderful freshly baked goods to share with family and friends! This is a half-day (8:30 - 12.30) event and the cost is £50 per person (non-refundable) with only 8 places available. If you are interested please email FoDS (fods@dumpton.com), your place will be confirmed once funds are received.  A donation from this event will be made to the school allotments.

With best wishes
Christian Saenger

PS A huge thank you to all the families who joined us for the Dumpton Dig on Sunday.  The transformation is remarkable: never underestimate what a group of people with a common purpose can achieve when they put their minds to it!