Welcome to the First Year Blog!

As the First Years continue to receive their Assessment results following all their hard work it has been a welcome break for them to take part in the Arts Award Creative Skills morning on Tuesday. All boys were “off timetable” for the entire morning and spent that time indulging in developing their own creative skills and completing their own creative mini projects. Here are what some of our First Years thought of their exciting morning:

I really enjoyed this as it was a change from doing work all day. It was fun and I learned lots.

I thought this morning was good to take a break from lessons and to do something creative, it really relaxed my brain. I particularly enjoyed Ben MJ’s “How to take effective photographs” as it was engaging and you learnt something new.

I enjoyed looking at the skills videos because they were all amazing and people had clearly put a lot of effort into them.

I thought that it was a very fun thing to do and I loved the wide variety of different projects and videos. The videos were all very clear and easy to understand and in total it was a very fun and different morning.

Have a look at some of the incredible work our First Years have produced:


This week marks the UK’s largest festival celebrating the contribution of refugees and promoting understanding of why people seek sanctuary. In the current climate of today it is always important to remind ourselves of what we have to be grateful for. The theme for Refugee week this year is “Imagine”, what small acts can you do around this word? Use the following website to give you some ideas:

refugee week


Following on from World Oceans Day on Monday 8 June some of our First Years have been thinking about the best ways to reduce plastic use and consumption. Pedro’s research for our annual Science Fair showed some promising results from his survey and highlighted some unknowns about recycling, take a look at some of the results below:


The boys have been busying themselves completing their Biology challenge for the past couple of weeks following on from World Environment Day, here are some more examples of the great work they have completed:


Last week the Physics Department set everyone a challenge in the H@H newsletter to measure the speed of light in a microwave with marshmallows! Elias was one of the many pupils who had a go and here are his findings below:


This week’s challenge, set by our First Year Tutor Team, was for our First Years to snap a photograph mid jumping for joy pose, a skill that requires perfect timing! Here’s how they did:


Mrs Whitwam has set up her own remote workstation.

Here are her top tips for a successful working from home routine:

Having a window that looks out on trees has been a life-saver for me and I highly recommend it. At the beginning of the lockdown, I was squeezed in a gloomy corner but one sunny morning I invaded the sitting room, setting up my headquarters in a bay window. I can see the apples fattening on the branches to my left and the candy pink blooms of a camelia bloom. Added excitement in my quiet life comes from a bird feeder on my windowsill where robins and blue tits come for a daily nibble. I recommend looking into the distance regularly in order to exercise your eye muscles. It’s too late for me, hence the selection of Professor McGonagall glasses!

To aid concentration, it helps to have a routine. I work better if I follow the School timetable and take breaks at the same times every day. I am more likely to mark 25 essays if I know lunch is in sight! At the end of the working day, I make a conscious effort to break from screens and get outside, often cycling along the tow path. The gorgeous weather has helped and I have borrowed a friend’s Parson’s Terrier for one day a week to accompany me on a long walk in Bushy Park.


1J have sent in some questions to ask Mrs Whitwam this week:

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I wanted to be an actress. My father was a TV director, my mother had been an actress until I was born and her parents were also actors. I was forever staging made-up plays at home, with home-drawn tickets and interval refreshments of custard creams. At Cambridge I was in a play every term and spent one summer at the Edinburgh Festival. It was about then that I realised I did not want to make a career of acting and set my sights on journalism.

When you were a journalist who was the most interesting person you interviewed?

I was thrilled to be given an interview with the Dalai Lama when he visited London once. We were  surrounded by fierce bodyguards but he was warm and charming. I have a priceless photo of him wagging his finger at me. He was having tea with the Queen Mother after seeing me and was very excited at the prospect and that was my little front page story for the Daily Telegraph.

What is the most exciting place you have travelled to?

I am passionate about travelling and have found the lockdown very challenging in that respect. At Easter I was supposed to be on the back of a Harley Davidson with my husband biking through Florida to New Orleans. Without doubt, the most fascinating place I have visited is Iran. The history, the architecture, the people and THE FOOD are all enthralling. I would love to go back and explore Shiraz.

When and where did you start teaching?

I did not discover my love of teaching until after I had my three children. I had grown more and more interested in education and spent a year volunteering in six completely different schools exploring my vocation, including Hampton Junior School. I trained at St Paul’s Catholic College in Sunbury and I am very grateful for all I learned there and the friends I made.

Who is your idol?

The Queen. I admire her stoicism, her fortitude and her headscarves.

What is your favourite food?

I am a foodie (as 1J knows well) and so found this the hardest question. If I had to pick it would be breakfast (preferably outside in the sunshine) with berries, followed by eggs benedict and lashings of sourdough toast and a treacly marmalade.

The Comedy of Errors

Our Lower School dramatists have recorded a series of podcasts retelling Shakespeare’s classic play The Comedy of Errors. To listen to The Comedy of Errors, click here.

Did you know…?

Due to lockdown and fewer boats in Studland Bay two populations of UK native endangered species of seahorse, the spiny (Hippocampus histrix) and short-snouted seahorse (Hippocampus hippocampus), are starting to grow!


A few questions for you to have a go at yourself or challenge people at home if they know the answer. Merits are awarded for everyone who has a go! Just click on the link below and enter your answers.

  1. How long is the gestation period of an elephant?
  2. Which of China’s dynasty’s was the longest lasting dynasty?
  3. What element is diamond made from?
  4. Which PIXAR movie depicts emotions as people?
  5. Which ancient wonder of the world is shown in this picture?

Why don’t you have a go and enter your answers here

Well done to Jian G, Pedro M, Falak S and Oliver D for their answers last week, almost all correct! Remember to write your name in the form so you can be credited with merits! Merits will be added to our remote merit log and if you have space add a merit in your old diaries!


  1. Name a substance that can go through the transition of sublimation? Carbon dioxide
  2. Name one of the founding fathers of America? Jefferson, Washington, Hamilton, Maddison, Jay, Adams, Franklin
  3. Name one of the three theatres that are part of the National Theatre? Olivier, Lyttelton, Dorfman
  4. In which century was the symbol for infinity introduced? 17th
  5. Name the artist of the following painting? Magritte

Have a great weekend!



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