I hope that you enjoyed a restful half term break ahead of the welcome Government announcement earlier this week that school sites can re-open from Monday 8 March under the ‘road map’ out of lockdown. It will be a very happy day indeed when our corridors, classrooms and the 3G sportsground/playing fields are once again resonating with the noise, energy and effervescence that 1300+ teenagers supply in abundance.
Early next week, we shall send out full details about our 8 March site re-opening arrangements and it will be important for parents to read through this information carefully with their sons. You will have already received information explaining our plans for conducting Covid-19 lateral flow device (LFD) testing from Wednesday 3 March, which is part of ensuring that we can all return safely and securely.
The resourcefulness, creativity and generosity of spirit shown by Hamptonians and staff during this latest iteration of national lockdown continues to be inspiring and uplifting. For example, do take the opportunity to listen to a new current affairs podcast launched by our Sixth Formers: Spare Thoughts. This involves our senior pupils discussing and debating the latest social, economic and political topics and I am reliably informed that it is already available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and most other streaming services. You can get a flavour of the programme in this week’s edition of Hampton@Home.
E-Hampton 2.0 has involved our Third Year thespians taking online lessons this term in choreographed movement. Watch out for their striking (no pun intended!) shadow-boxing skills in the H@H video sequence inspired by a play about an amateur boxer, Beautiful Burnout.
Gifted Hamptonian scientists, past and present, are also featuring in our digital round-up of this week’s School news. You can read about Matthew Cresswell’s hugely impressive performance in the Chemistry Olympiad; and there is a chance to catch up with James Cai OH (2016), who is in his penultimate year at UCL medical school and playing his part in the Covid-19 vaccination programme. Meanwhile, our H@H challenges this week involve making a one-string guitar under the tutelage of the remarkably talented Mr Bannister from our Art Department, alongside the opportunity for Hampton families to tackle ‘burpees’ with our Director of Rugby, Mr Thomson.
It is no secret that food is a sure-fire route to many a young man’s heart and this should make our annual ‘First Year Cooking Week’ – commencing next Monday – as popular as ever with our youngest pupils. Hopefully, this should see their household kitchens turned into a production line of culinary masterpieces for all the family to enjoy! As Joint Heads of First Year, Mrs Halford and Mr Hill, explain in their H@H video, we shall eagerly anticipate video and photographic evidence of the tasty dishes that appear over the coming days.
Home cooking has sustained many of us through the winter lockdown period and following the success of our recent ‘Nacho Night’ cook-along with Head Chef Paul, we shall be running another session as next week’s Thursday Night In event. You can book to join Chef Paul online as he demonstrates how to make the perfect home-made burger (beef or halloumi versions), ably assisted by members of the Hampton staff with rather different levels of culinary experience! We encourage you to check the e-newsletter story so that you can stock up on the necessary ingredients in advance.
I know that many of you will have enjoyed this week’s superb Thursday Night In featuring BBC foreign correspondent Nick Bryant as much as I did. It was illuminating and compelling to hear such insightful commentary upon the complex contemporary issues in the USA from someone with a ringside seat throughout the last five Presidencies. Those who watched the transmission will be aware that Mr Bryant kindly began his talk with some observations about Hampton and mentioned that he has come to admire our School not just for its academic rigour and marvellous playing fields, but because it is ‘such a compassionate, caring and loving community’. I couldn’t agree more and I remain personally grateful to all who make it so.
Enjoy the weekend and I cannot wait to see boys and colleagues back together where they belong in 10 days’ time!
With kind regards and best wishes