1B and 1H survived the ordeal of a 4.45am muster at School on Wednesday morning to channel-hop to Berck-sur-Mer for the day. Upon arrival, the boys looked round the local market, practising their French as they haggled with the stall holders – I believe they have perfected an aggrieved Gallic cry of “Mais non! C’est trop cher!” – for authentic local produce. Some sort of sausage seems to have been popular, if the French Department’s twitter feed photographs are to be believed. Having secured their spoils, the boys decamped to the beach, before taking a tour of the town. The day was rounded off with a couple of rounds of crazy golf, before 51 tired but happy boys (and staff) set off on the long journey back.

Some bright spark in the English Department (it was Miss Smith, and it has been noted) thought that Hampton should hold a Shakespeare Day, to (loosely) coincide with the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death.  Fair enough.  It was held yesterday, and we were treated to some powerful acting in assembly by Miss Carmichael and Mr Payne, portraying Macbeth and Lady MacBeth – again, fair enough. It was then decided that it would be entertaining to put teachers in a set of stocks at breaktime, as a re-enactment of Elizabethan punishments. This is the point at which, when hearing of the plan, alarm bells started faintly to ring.  Miss Smith then asked 1H which teachers should be put in the stocks, and they thought it would be jolly good fun if their Head of Year was subject to the humiliating ordeal. Miss Smith slyly decided to make this in aid of Form charity, silencing my regretful demurral before I had even had a chance to utter it. So it was that, at break time yesterday, I found myself securely clamped into a set of stocks – where did Miss Smith get them from?! – ten yards away from a smiling Alex Zotov. He was hefting a soaking sponge in his right hand – Miss Smith’s one concession to the comfort of her colleagues was to replace the traditional rotten fruit with something more forgiving – and he meant business. Queuing up behind him were Min Jea Liew and Benjamin Grahame. I can personally attest to the power in Alex’s, Min Jea’s and Benjamin’s throwing arms, and to the accuracy of their aim. I was a damper Head of Year for the rest of the day.

Less anarchic, and considerably drier, was the Junior Debating Societies discussion on the merits of teaching Shakespeare in schools.  Presided over by Archie Quantrill, Oliver Pulfrey-Baker and Alexander Mehta narrowly defeated Nayaaz Hashim and Oskar Zieleznik. Mrs Peattie was very impressed by the standard of debating, and awarded Nayaaz her ‘Junior Debater of the Year’ title.

On Tuesday, the whole First Year decamped to Marwell Zoo to study biodiversity, animal adaptations and conservation. I accompanied some boys from 1J, and we were given a fascinating talk about the threats posed to wildlife by poaching and hunting. We got to pet a royal python – apologies if First Year parents have been inundated by requests for snakes as pets.  We saw tigers and snow leopards, giraffes and pygmy hippos, white rhinos and red pandas, gibbons and macaques, penguins and okapis…an impressive menagerie indeed. Thank you to Mrs Martin, and the whole Biology Department, for organising the trip.

What else?  Ah yes, the Rock Concert Mark 2. Last term’s fantastic concert in the 450 Hall was so popular that our performers had to offer additional dates, as it were. This week’s rock concert, styled as ‘Rockin’ the Garrick’, took place on a smaller scale, in the Drama Hall – if the Spring Term event was the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury, yesterday evening’s affair had a more room-above-a-pub, standing-room-only ambience. An intimate gig – capacity of 60, one for the real hard core fans. And it was fantastic – a wonderful display of musicality and general rock showmanship.  One of the star turns was the Junior Rock Band, comprising Shane Bowden, James Emery, James Langdown and Thomas Wykes. They played Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana, and Holiday by Green Day.

The athletes have been very busy. With a number of meetings cancelled in recent weeks due to the adverse weather, they have been playing catch up, and have competed in the Middlesex and the Richmond Borough Championships in the past few days. Louis Middleton, Ethan Knight, Arthur Hopley, Ben Freer, Chris Hardy, Kabir Sait, Thomas Ketel, Isaac Mann, Luke Walsh, Sam Davidson and Jack Pearce all performed very well in the team that finished fourth in the Boroughs, whilst stand out performances at the Middlesex event came from Louis, who won the javelin and finished second in hurdles, and Ethan, who was blisteringly quick in the 100m, and won the discus, throwing a school First Year record in the process.

I was delighted to hear of Rohan Raj’s individual success at table tennis. Rohan represented Spelthorne Borough as top seed in the junior (11-13) competition at the Surrey Games. Competing against 15 other teams, from 11 Surrey Boroughs, Rohan led his side to the silver medal. Well done, Rohan! And Ben Francis has enjoyed individual musical success, participating in the Richmond Prom. Organised by the Richmond Music Trust, this event united hundreds of primary and secondary school performers from across the Borough, and Ben was selected to play the marimba.

Amidst this frenzy of activity, it is a wonder that anyone has found time to collect merit certificates, but Jake Costen has managed it, and we congratulate him for reaching the 30 merit milestone.



Mr J. Partridge