21st January 2022
I started the week by talking in our Assembly on Monday morning about courage, one of our four values.
I spoke about having to demonstrate this when white water rafting on the Zambezi and showed them some footage of the rafts and their occupants being flung all over the place by the force of the rapids, which they seemed to enjoy watching. Over the coming weeks, I will be talking to them about being courageous in their learning and in their decision-making, and I feel that it is so important that we model this for the children by talking about scenarios where we have struggled and have had to be courageous ourselves.
There was courage aplenty on show on Saturday at the Cross-Country event at Shiplake College, and I was most impressed with the number of children who were keen to take part on such a cold, dank and muddy Saturday morning. Just as impressive were the number of children who appeared for Running Club on Tuesday morning, despite the sub-zero temperatures. They are made of tough stuff, these Rupert House children!
I gather the Year 2 children had a delicious French breakfast on Tuesday morning, which sounds like a super way to start the day. More details of the event can be found below.
We are very excited that Nicola Sutherland has started work on the mural in the Hallway. She is effectively our artist-in-residence, and it has been wonderful to see and hear the number of children who have approached her to ask about her work and also to give ideas for her to incorporate into the design. Our hope is that this will also inspire the children creatively, though I did make it clear to them that they were not to start painting any walls at home without your permission! Please see the early pictures below and we will share more images with you as the artwork evolves.
We are in the process of exploring other clubs for the children to take part in if they wish and are delighted to announce that a Year 6 Rowing Club will be operating from Henley Rowing Club on Friday afternoons in the Summer term.
In line with many other local schools, our COVID cases have been on the rise this week. We currently have one case in each of Year 1 and 4, two cases in Year 5 and eight cases in Year 6. In addition, we currently have two members of staff off with COVID. The staff have continued to pull together to ensure that we can provide the best possible educational experience for the children, while the children themselves have been very calm and sensible where we have had to make changes.
I appreciate you continuing to be vigilant with your own children and for keeping them off school and taking them for PCR tests where they are displaying symptoms. There is at least now the possibility of members of the community being able to return to school sooner if they test negative with LFDs on Days 5 & 6, or indeed on subsequent successive days.
I am most grateful to all the Friends who were involved with the Second Hand Uniform sale at the Pavilion yesterday, which I gather was very busy. I do apologise for the delays we have experienced with our new suppliers, Stevensons and the issues we have experienced with our former suppliers which we hope to have resolved as soon as is possible. In the meantime, please do not worry if your child needs to wear alternative uniform or clothing. The most important thing from my perspective is that the children are able to keep warm in this chilly weather.
I am pleased to welcome Robert Whitfield, who is training to become a teacher, to Rupert House. Robert will be with us for the next month and will be based in Pre-Prep, where he has already been warmly welcomed by the children.
I visited The Dragon School in Oxford on Tuesday, to meet the new Head, Emma Goldsmith and to discuss ways in which we might work together going forward. The Dragon would be a super option for our parents who are thinking about 13+ entry to Senior Schools to consider for Years 7&8, alongside the existing relationships we have with a number of other 13+ Prep Schools. Yesterday I visited Holyport College, an extraordinary day and boarding comprehensive school which only opened in 2014 in partnership with Eton College. I spent the morning there with the Head, Ben McCarey, who gave many fascinating insights as to how we might approach our partnerships with other schools in and around Henley.
Many thanks to the Friends for running the Cake Sale this afternoon at pick-up outside Courtney's. These events are always popular with the children and myself! Next Thursday, is the Amazon House Charity Day, which we are all looking forward to. More details of the event can be found below and we look forward to supporting the children in their fundraising endeavours.
I do hope you have a restful weekend.
Nick Armitage, Head