Headmaster's Newsletter, Friday 25 September 2020

| 30 September 2020

Dear Parents

As a teacher, but also a parent, I have found myself asking a few key questions in recent weeks: how do we help our children become kind and empathetic? How do we encourage them to aim high and give of their best in all that they do? How do we ensure they fulfil their personal potential? I wish there were some simple answers I could share with you - but the fact is, nothing about children's development is simple or straightforward!

However, research into Character Education does suggest that one of the strongest influences on character development is what can be 'caught' from others - both adult role models like parents and teachers, and peers. Rather than spending too much time telling children how they should behave or act, we should be showing them; if we as adults model the behaviours and attitudes we expect, there is a good chance children will catch them from us. As the American novelist James Baldwin said, 'children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them...'

At the same time, we need to ensure pupils can be equally inspired by their peers at Dumpton, and find positive role models wherever they look. Rewarding and praising those pupils who get things right and set a good example, as opposed to giving too much attention to those who don't, is important here. This is also where our wonderful older pupils come in, and particularly Y8, who demonstrate to the younger pupils in so many ways what they can aspire to be. The Y8s have made a very strong start to the year - and this year many will be given even more responsibility and leadership opportunities through our new School Council. We're excited to watch this Year 8 grow and become even more influential as the year goes on.


It has been lovely to be joined by so many parents for Assemblies on Wednesday and Friday this week. Wednesdays are now our Performance Assemblies, and Fridays will usually be a form assembly led by the pupils. Y8 made an impressive start this morning, with a band treating us to a cover of Adele's 'Someone Like You', before another group of pupils delivered an informative presentation on our theme for the week: democracy. We'd be delighted for any parents to join these assemblies this term - they are all in the online calendar.

School Council

As I mentioned above, each form group in the Prep School is choosing a representative for the Dumpton School Council this year. We asked all forms to use a democratic process to select their rep, and to select those who best represent our core values of being kind and aiming high. Well done to all those who are chosen this term - I look forward to working with you all.

Performing Arts

I could not be more pleased with how our new Performing Arts Faculty has begun the year. From Y4 composing and devising Jabberwocky inspired Music and Drama, to Y5 experimenting with synaesthesia (the blending of different senses) through Kandinsky's art, to Y8 learning about conducting ensembles through Guns and Roses and Bob Dylan, the pupils have been buzzing with excitement, enjoyment and creativity. A huge thank you Mr Nye, Mr Moulton and Mrs Skinner for their energy and enthusiasm here. From what I have seen so far, we will have some truly wonderful performances and concerts to look forward to this year.

From the Maths Department

We are unable to do Times Tables Rock Stars (TTRS) in school at the moment. However, all pupils from Years 2 to 8 have access to TTRS (Numbots as well in Years 2 & 3). Pupils should have the information they need to log in; if they are unsure, they should ask their Maths teacher. We be holding a whole school TTRS battle on Wednesday next week at 6pm as a bit of a trial. We look forward to seeing how it goes!

A reminder also that the older pupils also have access to Mathletics (Years 4 & 5) and Sumdog (Years 6 to 8) to work on and practice their mathematical skills.

Future Schools

It was lovely to speak to over 30 parents via Zoom last night on Future Schools. I do hope it was useful, and look forward to seeing parents to discuss things further individually over the coming months. Future Schools appointments can be arranged with Lerryn.

Expectations, Rewards and Sanctions

On Monday I will be writing to Prep School parents to outline our approach to encouraging the highest standards of behaviour in the Prep School. Pupil behaviour at Dumpton is excellent, but work on this never stops, and this letter will outline some of the approaches we use together as a staff get this right.

The Dumpton Year Magazine

Further to Caroline Dickson's email regarding the Dumpton Year Magazine, please ensure your photos have been sent for each of your children by Wednesday 30 September. The photo must be a JPEG and of a high MB resolution. If you have any queries please email Caroline on c.dickson@dumpton.com.

House Cricket

On a beautiful day for cricket, it was wonderful to see pupils playing competitive cricket again this afternoon. Many thanks to the Games staff for putting on some enjoyable House Cricket matches, with girls and boys joining forces to compete for their houses. Well done to all who were involved!

I do hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

With best wishes

Christian Saenger