Headmaster’s Newsletter – 19 January 2018

Dear Parents,

As you are all aware, this week the school has undergone a full inspection by Ofsted. The school received a telephone call on Monday afternoon to inform us that the inspection was to take place over the following three days. The lead inspector came to Hans Place at lunchtime on Tuesday and spent the rest of the day scrutinising paperwork and discussing the form for the following two days. On Wednesday morning we were joined by three more inspectors who then spent the next two days visiting every part of the school observing lessons, looking through work books, interviewing pupils and checking documentation. It is fair to say that is was an extremely thorough inspection. Indeed, we have never had as many as four inspectors before.

I wrote earlier today to all our tutors to thank them for their magnificent efforts in showing the inspectors what a fine and wonderful community Hill House is, and how all our children are thrilled by the daily experiences of their teaching and the warmth of their care for them. I would also like to thank you for the considerable response to the Parent View questionnaire. The level of support shown is quite humbling. The inspectors now have to write their report, which then goes to be moderated before I am sent a draft version for any factual corrections.  This then goes back for further moderation before it is published.  Until then we cannot give you any indications of the inspectors comments or judgments so please be patient. The inspectors have, however, asked me to pass on their thanks for the warm and positive reception they received from the school and also how much they enjoyed meeting the children.

School life continued as normal notwithstanding our visitors. This week’s Assembly was a perfect demonstration of that. Swimming is a core part of our school. To see the pupils from Small School walking up to receive their swimming awards in front of the entire school is wonderful. We must remember that they are only four and five years old. When they are then followed by Lower School and Middle School children one can see the progress that all our pupils make in such a short space of time.

A reminder that this coming Thursday 25 January at 6.30pm there will be “An introduction to Boarding Schools” in Founders’ Hall. One of the most difficult decisions you have to make is the choice of the next school for your child after Hill House. Boarding is an option that many parents are unfamiliar with. We are delighted to welcome Mr Andrew Shedden (the Registrar) and Mr Sam Hart (a Housemaster) from Winchester College who will give a presentation to demystify this option and answer all your questions about boarding from 13 years old. They will also talk about the differences between 11+ and 13+ entry points. The evening will be focused towards the experience of boys, as Winchester is a boys only school, but will also be of interest to the parents of girls considering boarding in a single sex or coed secondary school. This evening is intended for parents without their children. A separate invitation has been sent to parents with children in Lower Transitus, Lower Senior School, Upper Beta and Upper Gamma. If you have not received an invitation and would like one please email info@hillhouseschool.co.uk

Best wishes,

Richard Townend

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