From the Headmaster's Study
29 November 2023
The Old School Bell has been rung in our end-of-term assembly to signal the end of the 2022-23 academic year, but many pupils and colleagues are involved in trips over the summer break. Indeed, I have just spent four enjoyable days in Berlin myself with 51 of our Fourth Years, who immersed themselves in the German capital’s remarkable history and cosmopolitan modern culture with typical Hamptonian enthusiasm. Five other groups are travelling to destinations ranging from Italy (both the Choir tour and Senior Rugby training camp) to Borneo (the Adventure Society’s joint Hampton-LEH expedition). Bon voyage to all of those involved!
Life at our School is always vibrant, vivid and varied, but the summer term just ended has felt especially so even by Hampton standards. An array of highlights from the past 12 weeks are referenced in the accompanying e-newsletter and the latest edition of News from Hampton (NfH), linked here.
NfH’s front page rightly celebrates our First XI football squad’s momentous victory in the U18 English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) Cup Final, played at Stoke City’s stadium in early May. This was a simply wonderful whole-School occasion and will live long in the memories of players and spectators alike. Another featured story is our uniformly excellent Independent Schools’ Inspectorate (ISI) report, which is testament both to our pupils’ talents and the dedication, expertise and professionalism of my teaching and support staff colleagues.
Our ISI visitors judged Hampton pupils’ achievements to be ‘exceptional’ across all areas of School life; anyone fortunate enough to attend this term’s music and drama performances would doubtless concur with this verdict. Do take time to read about our summer production, Once Upon a Pine ‒ an exuberant interpretation of the classic fairy-tale Pinocchio. And the recent Summer Concert was a fitting and uplifting culmination to the year’s musical programme. A number of Upper Sixth musical stalwarts are departing and they will be greatly missed, but last week’s event also highlighted the rich seam of younger Hamptonian talent coming through to replace them.
The summer term sporting calendar has seen members of the Hampton Boat Club perform well at the National Schools’ and Henley Royal Regattas; Great Britain selection for our J16 coxed four has offered further evidence of a pleasing season on the water. You can also read in our sporting round-up about an impressive Tennis season and a plethora of School and Borough Athletics records broken by Hampton’s track and field stars. Meanwhile, the sound of leather on willow has resounded on our playing fields as 21 teams across the age groups have flourished during a highly successful Cricket season.
Hampton’s footballers are not the only ones with a national championship to their name after our Chess players brought home the English Chess Federation (ECF) schools’ trophy in June. A multi-year group team comprising First Year to Sixth Form topped a table of leading schools to claim the ECF title and record what we understand to be a unique Chess-Football double!
Due recognition for this last achievement goes to our Master i/c Chess, Alasdair McBay (Director of Studies), who leaves us to work with ISI after 25 and a half years of dedicated Mathematics teaching and several as an integral member of our Senior Leadership Team. We also bid fond farewells to three other longstanding members of the Common Room. During his remarkable 39 years’ service to Hampton, David Clarke (Senior Tutor) has inculcated a lifelong love of outdoor activities in many hundreds of pupils via his inspiring oversight of our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and Adventure Society provision. It is entirely typical of the indefatigable Mr Clarke that his ‘retirement’ begins with leading the Borneo expedition for the next three weeks! Anne Ghaney and Elizabeth Hutchinson have been stalwart members of our support staff for 24 years and 22 years respectively; both have been unfailingly helpful, considerate and cheerful presences here. You can read more about these colleagues and others departing for pastures new in the accompanying end-of-year information sheet.
Last term was, of course, public examination season and Hamptonians who sat GCSEs and A Levels undertook no fewer than 6565 papers across a nine-week period. We wish our Fifth Years and Upper Sixth (the admirable and multi-talented ‘Class of 2023’) every success when their results arrive in August.
As I complete 10 years with the great privilege of leading our School, I should like to thank everyone for making daily life at Hampton so uplifting. I shall look forward to welcoming the next generation of Hamptonians in September, knowing that these new pupils will be joining a very happy, inclusive and supportive community.
Have a lovely summer!
With kind regards and best wishes