And so endeth the longest month that ever did exist. January is in the rearview mirror and we march towards spring and, ultimately, the sunlit uplands. In the meantime, we have February.

February is a funny old month. This time around, it is 29 days long as it is a leap year.

But why? A brief(ish) history lesson…

The year is based around the Earth going around the sun, which takes 365 days and just under 6 hours.

The first Roman calendar we are aware of had just 10 months. The calendar was shaped by the agricultural year, so it started with March and ended with December as no one in their right mind did anything in the fields outside of that time (they didn’t have a 3G). The time between December and March didn’t even get counted – it was just time that passed. Poor February didn’t even exist – it was just part of a chunk of nameless time which passed each year.

Then, in 731 BC, Numa Pompilius changed the calendar to line up with the phases of the moon. There are 12 of them during the course of year, so he added in two more months, January and February (hurrah). Of course, this later addition of these two months leads to the linguistic oddity of September, October, November and December being the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th months rather than the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th that their names would suggest.

Anyway, Numa Pompilius added these two months, but the new calendar year only added up to 355 days, not the 365 days and 6 hours that it ideally would do. He was renowned for his wisdom and piety, but presumably not his Maths – no Dr Frost (or Mr Schurch) to help in those days, it would seem.

The calendar year being just over 10 days too short caused all sorts of problems. To solve this, every now and then, the Romans threw in another month of 27 or 28 days, called Mercedonius, to keep the calendar in step with the seasons. We may criticise our modern politicians for ill thought through policies, but not even they could concoct a plan which involved inserting a random month into the year every now and then, although the Third Year blog wouldn’t necessarily put it past some of them, particularly if they had a friend who owned a company who could, at short notice, produce and sell calendars with an extra month added in.

By the 40s BC, the Roman calendar was about three months out of step with the solar calendar. Julius Caesar decided he would sort all this out, as that is the sort of guy he was. On the advice of his astronomers, he took guidance from the Egyptian solar calendar (which correctly outlined the year as lasting 365 days and 6 hours) and made sure that all 12 months had either 30 or 31 days. Apart from February, which was shorter in order to make the numbers work. This seems unfair as it was poor old February who used to get mucked around when they decided they needed a Mercedonius to sort the year out, as Mercedonius would start on the 24th of February, making it even shorter than it already was.

To add to the indignity, as the solar year lasts 365 days and 6 hours, they needed a plan to get that to work. Who was the fall guy? Every four years, they decided, they would add an extra day to February.

You’d think that was all of it, wouldn’t you? Well, it turns out that an extra day every four years is a tiny bit too much to correct the difference that extra 6 hours a year makes, so by the mid 16th C, the calendar was 10 days out of sync again.

Who would sort this out? Pope Gregory XIII, of course.

Whose life would be made more complicated? February’s.

Now, no century year (1900, 2000, 2100 etc) can be a leap year unless it is exactly divisible by 400. Apparently, this is enough to even everything out.

The final thing that needed to be done to get it all to work was to take 10 days that Julius Caesar’s calendar had knocked everything out by. So, what they did was take 10 days out of October in 1582. The day after the 4th October 1582 was the 15th October 1582. Finally, an instance where February was left to its own devices.

There is no moral to this story. It is simply a very long-winded way of saying that, yes, it is now the second month of the year, it has had a hard time over the years and we must all treat it with the respect it is due.

Of course, there is also some stuff in the blog about the Third Years. They’re having a wonderful time of it, it seems. We’ve had Model United Nations conferences debating all sorts of things (though not changes to the calendar, thankfully), a glorious Rugby victory, a deafeningly awesome Rock Concert (which we’ll hear more about next week) and a trip to LEH to see some French theatre. Spirits are high, detention numbers are low, the sausage casserole is plentiful and half term is just over the horizon. What a time to be alive! Let’s get into it…


We have been registering Forms on rotation this week and will continue into next week. We have been talking to the boys about the importance of keeping going until the half term holiday, both in terms of their efforts in lessons and striving for personal best whilst supporting each other with kindness across all school activities.

Interform Challenge

We are looking forward to seeing the boys take on the ultimate physical challenge for the next event in the Interform Challenge – indoor rowing! The event will be run by members of the PE department from 1.10pm on Thursday in the Sports Hall. Boys will be in their sports kit already as it is a Thursday, so there will be time to eat a quick lunch beforehand or afterwards from 1.30pm. Don’t eat too much if you’re going to eat before rowing!

End of Year Exams

Third Year exam week will take place from 20-24 May 2024. This is the week before the summer half term holiday. We do not expect pupils to begin their revision this far in advance, but hope this information is useful for planning purposes. Study skills guidance will be given to all Third Year pupils during PSHE lessons during the first half of the summer term. We will also run a Study Skills information evening for parents on Monday 22 April.


Thank you to parents for adhering to our requests regarding absence notifications, especially at this time of year. For medical absences, please notify your son’s Form Tutors via email (cc’ing absence@hamptonschool.org.uk) on the morning of each day of absence by 8:45am, or complete the absence form via the parent portal. For planned absences and appointments, please contact Heads of Year requesting the absence with as much notice as possible.

Boys – Please let us, your Form Tutors or the relevant subject teachers know if you are having any difficulties. We hope you have a lovely weekend.

Best wishes

Mr T Rigby & Mrs M Bedford

Rugby Update

Let’s hear from James E (3F) reports on the recent U14B match against Whitgift.

We all arrived at school on a freezing cold Saturday morning at Hampton to get a coach over to Whitgift. On arrival we had to walk through the school itself, where we saw the huge pictures of Elliot Daly that towered over us on the wall of their massive gym. When we got to the changing room, we realised that we were to play the game on a football pitch with no opportunities to convert any tries. Whitgift kicked off first to start the first half, where we comfortably retrieved the ball and started charging towards the Whitgift defence. Hampton soon realised that Whitgift had huge forwards who clattered into tackles, but Hampton’s teamwork and skill out matched their defence. We broke the line on several occasions with incredible tries from Ben P, George M and Gui G. For the few periods of time where we were not in possession of the ball, our defence was well organised and relentless, we were not willing to give Whitgift an inch. All of our forwards played an incredible role in rucking and counter rucking, making my job as scrum half a lot easier. When the whistle went signalling the end of the first half we had only conceded two tries but scored five.

Whitgift fought back strongly in the second half, committing everything to the rucks and trying to flatten our defensive line. We conceded a flurry of tries in a short space of time. With desire and hunger for victory pouring though our veins James E passed out to Elliot J who passed to a pod of forwards waiting to charge through Whitgift’s strong defence. Ben P ran bravely through almost half their team to score a magnificent solo try. From that moment onwards we were a different team, every single one of us searching for that precious victory against our rivals. We charged faster, tackled harder and were braver, ultimately destroying Whitgift’s defence. We had so much momentum and we couldn’t stop scoring. Sam C scored an incredible try from a massive kick from George M off our 22’ which bounced perfectly over the line for Sam C to dive on  and score our penultimate try, making it 50 – 25 to Hampton. The clock soon ran out so the ref signalled for last play, and we were not planning on kicking it straight out into touch and calling it a day. We wanted one more. Hampton played amazingly through the back line to make up ground, where we went through phase after phase until we were on their try line. Archie C crouched over the ball at the breakdown and lunged forwards, scoring a final try resulting in a glorious victory for the Hampton U14Bs, with a final score of Hampton 55 – Whitgift 25. It was an incredible performance from the whole team and it was such an enjoyable game. We certainly left our mark.

French Play At LEH

On Wednesday, Hamptonians studying French were given the opportunity to go to LEH to watch two French actors perform a play. The plot featured five art students who were locked together in a room and couldn’t find the key. In case anyone wonders how this was done, both actors played two students each, and the fifth was played by an enthusiastic volunteer.

The dialogue was at just the right level to understand, and there were several places where audience interaction was required. We mixed colours and described a student who most of us had never met before. It was brilliant to be able to put classroom French into practice and I am sure I was not the only French student who enjoyed the challenge of following the dialogue and the movement of the actors. Overall, it was a hugely rewarding experience which enabled us to practice our French outside the classroom in an enjoyable manner.

By Rory M (3A)

Model United Nations

Between the 26 and 28 January, I attended the LEHMUN 15 (LEH Model UN) conference with many other Hamptonians, from Second Year to Upper Sixth, representing the delegations of Brazil, the UK and Israel. Lots of other Hampton Sixth Formers also attended as guest chairs, where they would guide the debate.

There were several interesting topics under debate, including the issue of world hunger, the International Criminal Court and the Israel-Gaza war. I was on the Political committee as the Vatican City, debating interesting topics such as the illegal drug trade and the security of Slavic countries. Before the conference, I had to research my country’s position on these topics and write a speech, then write a resolution, which are clauses that aim to solve the question that the committee is debating. I had a great day debating these topics with pupils from many different schools in my committee and with all in the General Assembly.

I would like to thank Miss Bellingan, Miss Field and everyone else at Hampton who helped with arranging this fantastic day. Please do come along to MUN Club on Tuesdays at 12:35pm in the Lecture Theatre to experience some great debate over current affairs.

By Thomas D (3J)

Discover Hampton Podcast

Hola! Bonjour! Guten Tag! Ni Hao! Privet! In the latest podcast episode, we join the Modern Languages Department and get a flavour of the five languages we offer at Hampton. Click on the link below to have a listen.


One of our illustrious leaders, Mr Rigby, was last week’s liar. He offered the following possibilities:

  • Mr Rigby captained Warwickshire’s U11 cricket team
  • Mr Rigby once featured in a BBC adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel ‘Persuasion’. His role was to fall out of a tree and ‘have his brow mopped’
  • Mr Rigby sets the thermostat in the Third Year Head of Year Office so that it is one degree centigrade lower than the temperature in the rest of the school

As it transpires, Mr Rigby did captain Warwickshire’s U11 cricket team – no doubt he steered that county side with the same poise and aplomb that he jointly steers the good ship ‘Third Year’ with Mrs Bedford. He also did feature in a BBC adaptation of ‘Persuasion’. His performance is a triumph and I believe it may be possible to find online – one would not think it would be possible to so powerfully portray a slightly dazed child. This means that the lie is final one. Mr Rigby does not set the thermostat in the Third Year Head of Year Office one degree lower than the rest of the School, though no doubt the Bursar and the environment would thank him for it if he did.

This week, Mr Zannetou is the teacher weaving a web of deceit for you. The Third Year blog likes to think that all of these are true, but one is not…

  • Mr Zannetou is affiliated with the Mozambican national football team
  • Mr Zannetou raced cars (he is unspecific about which type of cars)
  • Mr Zannetou was once a security guard for 90s pop idol and reality TV hero Peter Andre

Which is the lie?


Well done to everyone who had a go at last week’s Connection Corner. Merits go to all those who correctly guessed that the answers were all types of mints. Big shout out to Krishang T, William O’S, Francis S, Huw P, Harry W, Olly P, Bailey HC, Oliver S, Charlie E, Kiran G, Darshan S,  Rory M and Will D.

Another tricky one this week, have a go over the weekend and see if you can spot the connection:

In case you’re still perplexed, here are the answers from the last conundrum:

Which Scottish tennis player won Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016? Andy Murray

Inches, yards and pounds are all types of what measurement? Imperial Units

What is the name for a slow-moving body of ice? Glacier

The game ‘noughts and crosses’ is known by what name in the United States? Tic Tac Toe

Connection answer: All kinds of mint (Murray, Imperial, Glacier, Tic Tac)


Back to All Articles