Headmaster’s Newsletter – 9 October 2020

Dear Parents,

Music is now well underway.  There are 392 children receiving instrumental lessons each week.  This year we have 48 woodwind players, 34 brass, 93 violinists, 40 cellists, 77 guitarists, 89 pianists and a totally wonderful surprise – 10 harpists!  In addition we have 118 children singing in Hans Place arranged into 8 choirs so that we can keep to government guidelines.  Cadogan choirs will begin after the Half Term break. In addition there are 47 Ensembles preparing for performances at Showcases and Assemblies later in the term.  Each pupil has a “Lesson Report Card” in which the tutor sets out the work to be practiced between lessons. We do ask that parents read the card and sign it each week so that we know that they have seen it and helped with practice at home.  Swift progress depends upon a little regular practice (10-15 minutes every day if possible) rather than one big burst at the weekend or the evening before the next lesson!  The motto is “P P P” – practice, progress, pleasure.

Swimming is a fundamental part of life at Hill House and I am delighted to let you know that we are able to begin swimming again. At the moment only Latchmere is letting us in; we are still waiting for the Chelsea and Queen Mother Sports Centres to open up.  To ensure the safety of everyone we have taken the entire pool and changing rooms. We have sole use of the whole swimming area, including both swimming pools, all changing facilities and toilets. No other members of the public can access the site while we are there. There is also a 30-minute interlude while the pool staff clean and sterilise the whole area before and after we leave. We have started with Small School and Lower School and hope to expand further up the school as soon as possible.

Some parents have enquired about our plans for the annual ski courses.  At present the Swiss government requires 10 days quarantine from anyone arriving from the UK and in addition the UK government requires 14 days quarantine on returning.  Clearly this makes any course at Glion totally impractical at the moment.  We can but hope that these requirements will be relaxed by the year end and we can then plan as many courses as possible so that no one is disappointed.

Billings & Edmonds will be coming to Founders’ Hall on Saturday 17 October to set up their regular pop-up shop in preparation for the change into winter uniform after Half Term. To ensure Covid security they will run an appointment system. Please follow the link below to book your slot.


Thank you to those of you who have already returned the Flu vaccination consent form. For those still outstanding please be sure to return both pages no later than Monday 19 October. Forms should be given to your Senior/Form Tutor. A reminder that the NHS requires notification of either yes or no to ensure nobody is missed out in error and so that they know how many are actively not taking up the offer.

Our Harvest collection for The Upper Room will be next Friday 16 October.  Please only bring donations on Friday morning before 8.30am, as we are unable to store them through the week. Unfortunately we will not be able to accept any donations that come in after this time as they are collected by the charity on Friday morning. We have been supporting this charity for many years and your donations are always gratefully received. If you would like to find out more about their work in feeding the homeless please visit their website


Below you will find a list of the items that they would like, and perhaps more importantly, would not like to receive. 

Thank you to everybody who completed our Online learning questionnaire. It has been very helpful to get your feedback so that we can be even better. It was heartening to find that 95% of parents were happy with the remote learning provision during lockdown. 78% thought that the right amount of work was set with just 10% feeling there was too much and 12% too little.  Below are a couple of comments from parents. 

  • I really appreciated seeing how well the teachers teach!
  • It worked very well and we were appreciative of the effort gone into organising remote learning. Thank you
  • I was extremely impressed by Hill House’s response to remote learning. The transition was relatively seamless and he was very well supported.

Thank you for all your kind comments and thank you to our tutors for all their hard work during that time. We, of course, are aware day in day out of how talented and committed our tutors are. If there has been an upside to this pandemic then perhaps being able to show you a little more of what goes on in the classroom has been one of them.

Best wishes, 

Richard Townend