From the Headmaster's Study
10 December 2023
While I shall refrain from tempting fate by using the word ‘normal’ to describe the thoroughly enjoyable School weeks since January, our spring term has been characterised by passing a series of welcome milestones on the road to normalcy. You can enjoy reading about some of these in the latest edition of News from Hampton, which can be accessed here and also via the accompanying end-of-term e-newsletter.
An uplifting, film soundtrack-themed Spring Concert last Wednesday evening rounded off the term’s vibrant and varied Performing Arts programme. The wealth of creative talent on show from over 170 Hamptonian musicians across our year groups drew enthusiastic applause from a packed Hammond Theatre − bravo to all those involved!
We also saw the resumption of our Talk! programme recently as pupils, parents and friends from partner schools gathered to hear from renowned political historian Sir Anthony Seldon. A large audience was treated to an entertaining, whistle-stop tour through 300 years of British Prime Ministers (‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’). We also benefitted from Sir Anthony’s typically perceptive commentary on the courageous contemporary leadership of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Our School community has been shocked and saddened by the distress caused by the invasion of Ukraine and we shall continue to explore ways in which we can support people affected by the ensuing humanitarian crisis, including those fleeing the conflict and compelled to become refugees. To date, Hamptonians and their families have donated over £15,500 to our ongoing ‘JustGiving’ appeal in support of the work of the Red Cross and UNICEF in the region; your similarly generous-spirited response to an appeal from the Ukrainian Prosperity Café in Twickenham for items such as batteries, chargers and torches was very gratefully received. Thank you for your compassion and kindness.
Returning to Hampton life, I hope you will enjoy reading about our young scientists excelling in national competitions, and also the award of a ‘Quality Mark’ by University College London’s, Centre for Holocaust Education in recognition of Hampton’s excellence in this field. UCL’s assessors described the quality of our Holocaust education programme, so ably overseen by Mr Lawrence and our pupil-led Genocide80Twenty group, as ‘remarkable – and in many ways world-leading’.
A wide range of sporting achievements also feature in our end-of-term e-newsletter. The latest of these is the success of our First, U14 and U13 rugby VIIs squads, all of which performed admirably at last week’s Rosslyn Park National Schools 7s tournament. Our senior rugby squad has also spent the first weekend of the holiday competing impressively at the Sedbergh National Super Tens competition in Cumbria.
Our footballers also deserve plaudits at the end of a superb season that has seen around 550 inter-school fixtures played by Hampton sides since September. County Cup finals await after Easter for our First XI, Under 16As and Under 14As; our U13A and U16B squads have progressed to their respective English Schools’ FA (ESFA) finals. These will be staged at EFL grounds early next term, doubtless with plenty of vociferous Hamptonian support in the stands or on the terraces!
One of last term’s particular highlights involved over 2,000 school and club rowers gathering for the long-anticipated return of the Hampton Head. Commendable collective efforts by a host of Boat Club and HHBCA parental volunteers ensured this key event in the junior rowing calendar could take place again on our stretch of the river. I also enjoyed being back at my traditional vantage point on Hammersmith Bridge to support Hampton crews competing on the Tideway at the Schools’ Head of the River Race in mid-March. Our senior rowers performed well on the water and also took the opportunity to show solidarity with those affected by events in Central Europe by donning blue caps – these combined poignantly with their bright yellow Hampton vests in a memorable tribute to the Ukrainian national flag.
In closing, it feels appropriate and timely to thank members of the Common Room for their continuing tremendous efforts in response to issues arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, including hybrid lessons and the conflicting requirements to prepare older Hamptonians fully for public examinations while also fulfilling the national contingency plan for teacher assessed grades. Our teaching and support staff have worked extremely hard to support our pupils this term; it remains a privilege and pleasure to work alongside such talented and dedicated colleagues.
I wish all Hamptonians and their families some well-deserved rest and relaxation over the break. It will certainly be very pleasing indeed if the current warm weather continues throughout the holiday period!
With kind regards and best wishes