Headmaster’s Newsletter – 23 October 2017

Dear Parents,

Now that Half Term is upon us it is a good opportunity to look back over the last seven weeks and appreciate what has been achieved. Lower School moved into Cadogan Gardens and Lower Senior School moved into Main School and particularly Pont Street. After the inevitable teething problems of such a significant change this has now settled down very well and the benefits of the move are already paying dividends. Thank you to all the staff whose hard work has made this possible.

This year we have a new timetable splitting the teaching periods into 45 minute lessons rather than 30 or 60 minutes. This has given us both opportunities and challenges. One of the challenges has been to fit in almost five hundred individual music instrument lessons every week in addition to the many choirs and ensembles. Music is a cornerstone of life at Hill House along with academia and sport. We strive to give every pupil the chance to try as many things as possible to unearth their talents, wherever they may lie.

In September we were delighted to welcome to the full time staff Kenneth Glover as Academic Director. He had been working with us for a while as a consultant helping to develop our curriculum and teaching. His review of the first half of term is below.

Founders’ Hall has been full with many events this half term, not least the Parent and Tutor Social Evenings. These social evenings are distinctly different from Parents’ Evenings and it was good to see so many of you at this more informal occasion.

On the sporting front we have had the Athletics Day for Upper and Main School and another for Lower and Middle School. There have been numerous fixtures and the borough’s Mini Marathon in Holland Park.

We have had two successful geography courses in Glion for the boys in their final year and the Main School Book Fair looks to have raised over £1,000 for books for the school library.

Trips are an important part of life at Hill House and we have had many so far this term. This week the children in Small School visited the Chelsea Fire Station and the boys in Upper Senior School went to the Holland Park Ecology Centre and the Design Museum.

Looking forward to the next half of term there is an equally full programme of events, trips and concerts. On Wednesday 8 November we have our Foundation Day Assembly where Lower School take centre stage. The following Wednesday is our Remembrance Day Assembly. Parents are most welcome to these and indeed at any Assembly. Music Showcases start on November 1st and there are Drama showcases by Upper Beta and Gamma. Details of all these events can be found on the school website.

Best wishes,

Richard Townend

 

From Kenneth Glover

Dear Parents,

At the end of this first half term pupils across the school deserve huge congratulations on having settled so well and engaged so successfully in the classroom. Their positive approach to their lives here and the work that they do is striking, and it has been a pleasure to see in all areas of the school. Children new to Hill House in Small School have settled very well, while the new year-group arrangements in Cadogan Gardens and Hans Place are also enabling exciting new approaches that will continue to benefit pupils’ classroom experiences and hopefully lead to even greater academic success.

Across the past weeks I have been delighted to meet many of you, not least at the parental evenings we have held and at the meetings regarding senior school entry. Thank you again for your support in attending these events. It is much appreciated. Moving forward, there will be further events in the coming months that we hope will prove just as helpful. 

As you may know, many pupils have been, or will be, sitting standardised tests to help inform their teaching and learning in the classroom. These tests are, to reassure you, only a very small part of pupils’ academic lives here, but they offer us helpful information to support your child at the individual level. Of particular note are the tests that pupils in Upper Senior School (Year 6) have sat in English, Mathematics, Science, Verbal Reasoning and Non-Verbal Reasoning, as part of their preparation for the Pre-tests for their senior schools. The results of these tests are now through and are exceptionally good, illustrating the tremendous progress and success Hill House pupils typically make in all academic areas as they travel through the years here. Against an age-based national comparison Hill House pupils’ achievements were, in truth, outstanding, not only in all subjects, but in all component areas of each subject. They outperformed the national averages by extremely large percentages. There is, of course, much more to academic success and the joy of education than is ever explained merely by statistics, but these results nonetheless testify to the quality of the education pupils at Hill House enjoy.

We look forward to more fantastic learning when we return after the half-term break.  

Best wishes

Kenneth Glover

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