Headmaster’s Newsletter – 14 May 2021

Dear Parents,

Notwithstanding anything the Prime Minister may say later this afternoon next week sees the next stage of the government’s relaxation of restrictions. What does this mean for life at Hill House? From Monday no pupils will be required to wear a facemask or face covering at any time in school. Should a pupil wish to wear a facemask they will be very welcome to do so and should not feel in anyway inhibited by doing so. Staff will only be required to wear facemasks if social distancing is not possible in corridors or common areas. In practice this means at lesson change over times. As with the pupils, should a member of staff wish to wear a mask at other times they will be free to do so. The government guidance also states that there is a requirement for anybody aged 11 and over  to wear a facemask on public transport. We will be continuing with our enhanced levels of touchpoint cleaning through the day, temperature checks at the start of the day and regular hand washing and sanitising. 

Next week sees the opening of theatres and concert halls to reduced audiences. This excellent news means we can have audiences once again for our Showcases. Astonishingly there will be a concert or play every evening Monday to Thursday until the end of term. There is so much pent up demand for performances that we have had to plan two showcases on Fridays in addition.

The season begins this week in Founders’ Hall:

  • Monday 17 Cadogan Cellists
  • Tuesday 18 Piano & Harp pupils of Miss Nuti and Miss Bartz
  • Wednesday 19 The String Orchestra plus Violin pupils of Mr Lau
  • Thursday 20 Piano pupils of Miss Haney & Miss Shklover and violin & piano pupils of Miss Laks 

The following week on Monday 24 the John Betjeman poetry competition will be judged by the well-known Irish actress Brigid Shine.  Everyone is welcome to come and support this annual event.  On Tuesday 25 Cadogan Violin pupils of Miss Reinoso will play and then we will look forward to Wednesday 26 and the Delta Drama Showcase and Thursday 27 for the Kappa Drama Showcase.

Our Showcases at Founders’ Hall are held in line with the latest UK Government guidance and we will continue to review and follow Government advice. Should the guidance change and impact your visit we will let you know. At the moment you may only attend performances with individuals from your own household or support bubble and the total limit on audience numbers is 60.  May we remind you that food and drinks may not be brought into Founders’ Hall. All audience members (over 11 years old) will be required to wear a mask inside Founders’ Hall.

Showcases are designed to encourage and reward all the performers for their efforts whatever their level of achievement. The children listen to their friends playing and draw inspiration from what they hear and find pieces they would like to learn themselves and so increase their personal repertoire. All performers need an audience and so parents and pupils are expected to remain for the whole of the Showcase. One of the most notable and gratifying things that we were able to take from the Showcases last term, when we were unable to have an audience of parents, was the level to which the children still ‘performed’ for their friends and how much their friends enjoyed listening to them. The act of being able to stand up and perform with pride in front of your peers and loved ones is such an important lesson and it will have positive benefits throughout their whole lives. We are delighted to be welcoming you all back to Founders’ Hall over the next few weeks. Details of all the Showcases, drama productions, Speech competitions and the Art Exhibition are on the school website.

Last week I was able to send a donation of £3,345.00 to the St. Nicholas Fund for children at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. This was money raised at the last two Second-hand Uniform sales. I received a letter of thanks almost by return, which is copied below. It has been a very difficult time for so many charities over the last eighteen months and this particular charity is particularly important to Hill House. It is a pleasure to support them.

The ‘School Street’ outside Hans Place has been a great success and we hope that it will become permanent. However, we have been made aware that the Danish Embassy has raised “concerns about Hill House parents parking irresponsibly and dangerously and driving the wrong way/ reversing/turning around/double parking on Pavilion Road.” While I am sure that no Hill House parent would drive the wrong way down Pavilion Road I would ask that when parking you do so legally and safely and preferably in Hans Place. We must always be considerate of our neighbours. Please also adhere to any directions from members of staff on barrier duty.  Thank you. 

Details of how to order the year group photographs that were taken this week will be emailed early next week.

Best wishes, 

Richard Townend