From the Headmaster's Study
05 December 2023
Last Friday’s lunchtime bell heralded an exodus of happy Hamptonians, all of whom seemed eager to begin their well-earned Easter holidays after another hugely enjoyable and action-packed term. A host of spring term highlights feature in the latest News from Hampton – a link has already been sent out via SchoolPost and the edition can also be accessed via this e-newsletter.
It remains heartening to see our School playing such an active role within our local community; a flourishing partnerships programme is fundamental to our ethos and continues to grow year-on-year. In February, the annual joint junior production with Waldegrave Girls’ School saw younger children stage a series of vibrant performances of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. More recently, we hosted the welcome return of the ISSP Music Day, which saw children from six nearby state schools collaborating harmoniously (no pun intended!) with their Hampton and LEH peers. A joyful day of music-making culminated in an uplifting evening concert that graced the Hammond Theatre.
And our community activities this term have not exclusively been the preserve of young people ‒ in early March, over 200 parents, staff, and friends of the School joined Hamptonians and LEH girls for a memorable Choral Society Concert. What a sight and sound it was to behold for fortunate audience members! Plaudits are due to everyone involved and especially our Director of Music, Mr Roland, for overseeing this musical tour de force.
Since returning to School in early January, our Talk! programme of visiting speakers has featured a number of experts in their fields. Alongside learning about life in Antarctica from Professor Lloyd Peck and listening to Tim Marshall’s perceptive commentary on the conflict in Ukraine and its geopolitical impact, we were privileged to welcome journalist and Everyday Sexism Project founder, Laura Bates. Her thought-provoking presentation urged young women and men to support one another in advocating gender equality and equity – a message reflected in the work that senior pupils at Hampton and LEH have been sharing with their younger peers in some of their PSHE lessons.
The post-pandemic resumption of our trips, tours and exchanges programme has been a notable (and most welcome) feature of recent months at Hampton. Only a few days ago, it was my privilege to join our Third Year historians as they explored the First World War battlefields of Belgium and Northern France. It was poignant to attend the Last Post ceremony at Ypres’ Menin Gate together and see current pupils lay wreaths there and also at Tyne Cot cemetery in honour of AJ Winterbourne (OH 1914), one of many young lives lost at the Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.
Other Hamptonians are heading off over the Easter break to a diverse range of destinations: overseas visits are bound for Dubai, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Spain and France; closer to home, groups are heading variously to Slapton Sands, Exmoor, Snowdonia, Northumberland and Cumbria. We wish all those involved bon voyage and huge thanks are due to my colleagues for devoting holiday time to accompanying these trips.
In other news, it has been – even by Hampton standards – a bumper sporting term, as you will gather from the e-newsletter updates. As I write, our senior Rugby players are playing very well indeed in the prestigious Sedbergh Tens tournament and this follows a successful week for our squads at the Rosslyn Park National Schools’ 7s tournament. Hampton’s First, U16 and U14 VIIs all won through to the second days of their respective competitions to round off a very pleasing term in this format of the oval ball game.
Our Boat Club has also enjoyed a promising end to the spring term Head-racing season and Hampton’s oarsmen can approach their Easter training camps with confidence. The pressing need to shelter under a black and yellow umbrella on Hammersmith Bridge (my traditional vantage point) means that I can personally attest to the challenging conditions at last week’s Schools’ Head of the River Race. However, our rowers are hardy souls and they performed admirably on the Tideway despite the inclement weather, with particularly strong performances by our J16 and Second VIII crews. Congratulations are also due to our J15 and J14 octuples, whose impressive endeavours at the Junior Sculling Head at Dorney were rewarded with gold or silver medals.
Finally, it is a source of great excitement here that our First XI footballers have once again reached the English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) Cup Final. With no fewer than 374 teams involved in this tournament nationally, it is a remarkable achievement to have reached the last two; the imminent contest with Shrewsbury School at Stoke City FC’s stadium will be a splendid whole-School occasion. You can discover more about our senior squad’s road to the final in the e-newsletter; further details for spectators will be sent out at the start of next term once ESFA has confirmed arrangements. I am most certainly hoping that the 2022-23 football season ends with thoroughly deserved trophy success for the teams that I follow so avidly!
With best wishes to all Hampton families for a relaxing and restful break.