Headmaster’s Newsletter – 15 May 2020

Dear Parents,

As we come to the end of the fourth week of the our “virtual” school a huge thank you to everyone for the remarkable success of the enterprise which has meant an enormous amount of work for everyone but has been hugely appreciated. It has really fired the children’s imagination and I am sure parents will have noticed how enthusiastic the children are each day for this new method of learning.  Even so everyone wants to be back at the real school to reawaken the social contact, which is such an essential part of school life for all of us.

You will know of the Prime Minister’s ambition that schools should prepare to open Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from 1 June and the other primary years as soon as possible thereafter so that all children in those age ranges can have some time at school before the summer holiday.  
(I am equally aware of the concern that parents may have about the safety of such a strategy.)  

From Monday 1 June we will welcome back Small School, Lower School, Upper Senior School and Upper Transitus pupils. In the following weeks, and following Government directives, we hope to expand this to include further sections of the school. Parents must understand that the curriculum offered will be modified by circumstances so that as far as possible pupils and tutors are safe at all times but that in a school environment strict social distancing is impractical. We will publish a risk assessment for a return to school before Half Term with details of the measures we will be putting into place to ensure the school is as safe as possible. These will also consider movement to available sports venues on foot and staggered starts and ends to the shortened school day to avoid rush hour travel on public transport to and from school. For those who prefer to remain at home for the rest of this term we will continue to offer the “virtual” school with some modifications.

I have included a few of the pictures I have been sent of pupils working away at home and also fanfaring their neighbourhoods last Friday as part of the 75th VE Day commemorations. 

Looking towards the end of term it seems most unlikely that we will be able to hold Field Day this year, even in a reduced format. Our intention is to reschedule the Graduation Assembly for leavers in the first week of September so that we can celebrate their success and wish them well for the future. It is a great disappointment that the graduating pupils, many of whom have been at Hill House for seven or nine years will not be able to have the experience they were expecting. We will endeavour to make the Graduation Assembly, when it happens, a worthy replacement.

The summer courses in Glion alas have all had to be cancelled but we are planning for the autumn Geography courses and invitations will be sent out in the coming weeks.

And finally, something very special to cheer you this weekend.  Zachary Zbar of our Sixth Form has been chosen as a top 10 finalist in The Young Songwriter 2020 competition with his composition “Protection”. A terrific achievement in this the leading platform for young songwriters organised by the Song Academy. This year’s competition attracted over 700 entries from young songwriters aged 8–18 across the world. The Top 3 songs will be announced on 2 June and the winners announced on 20 June – good luck Zachary!

Best wishes,

Richard Townend