Today with the sun shining we could sense that summer has finally arrived. The Summer term is always busy but this term has been particularly so with the desire to catch up on time lost during lockdowns for those activities that can only truly be accomplished face to face. There is much to look forward to in the coming weeks – three more drama productions, four Musical Galas, nine music showcases, a Choral Festival, the annual Speech Competition which this year will be adjudicated by Jonathan Shiels and the Art Exhibition, which will be judged by the former Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum the distinguished art historian Dr Alan Borg. Then the grand finale to our year will be Field Day at the Duke of York’s on Wednesday 7 July following the Graduation Ceremony, which we hope will be in St Columba's.
This past week it was a great joy to welcome so many parents to the John Betjeman competition, the Cadogan violin showcase and the two drama productions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The enthusiasm and excitement of the pupils was wonderful and exhilarating. Congratulations to everyone who took part.
You will have all received an email earlier today advising you that we have been informed of one positive case of COVID-19. The small number of children who have been in close contact with the individual who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have received an email telling them that their child must stay at home for ten days. This unfortunate case does, however, serve to remind us all that we must be on our guard despite the gradual lifting of restrictions. All of our staff are continuing to test twice a week with lateral flow devices as are the pupils in Upper and Lower Sixth. I take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of continuing with these tests during Half Term and beyond. The COVID protocols that we have in place have not altered since the beginning of term except for the relaxing of the rules around wearing masks for pupils. All staff in Cadogan Gardens and Hans Place continue to be required to wear a mask when moving around the buildings where Social Distancing is not possible. Pupils are welcome to wear a mask if they choose to do so. We would encourage this in the corridors of Hans Place where Social Distancing can be harder.
We have been sent some timely advice from the Department for Education regarding travel over Half Term which I pass onto you below.
The government announced that from Monday 17 May, international travel can gradually resume as destinations are added to England’s ‘green list’. You may wish to remind parents that people should not travel to ‘amber’ and ‘red’ countries, and that strict rules on testing and quarantine remain in place to protect public health and the vaccination programme. Further information can be found in the guidance on red, amber and green list rules for entering England.
We will be sending out a return to school COVID questionnaire to all parents during Half Term, which must be filled in before the return to school on Monday 7 June. We will not be able to allow a child to return to school without a completed form.
This is the time of year when we announce the fees for the coming Academic Year September 2021 to July 2022. This year we are particularly conscious of the impact on family finances of the COVID pandemic. Unlike most London prep schools Hill House is privately owned and so does not have to make money for shareholders or any educational group. All the fee income is used for the benefit of the pupils. We try to be as affordable as possible to as wide a range of families as possible but we are not immune to the general rise in business rates, rent on our buildings, the cost of sports facilities and increases in food, transport and utilities. In setting the fees we also have to take into account the importance of delivering an excellent education, which can only be made possible by the retention of highly qualified and dedicated tutors. To further assist parents we are happy, from this coming year, to accept monthly payments by standing order.