Highfield Priory
Sep 9, 2016

Headmaster's Weekly News, Friday 9th September, 2016

9 September 2016


Dear Parents


Welcome Back!


I hope you have all had an excellent summer break. It was lovely to see so many very eager and excited children on Monday, all full of their adventures from the holidays and looking forward to the year ahead. Each group had something to look forward to and were deep in discussion about everything from receiving their Monitor Cards in Year Six to getting their own desk in Year 3! There is so much to look forward to in the next year at Highfield.


I would like to offer a very warm welcome to all our new starters and families. We are delighted to invite you and our Reception parents to our Parents’ Coffee Morning on Friday 23 September.

Nursery: Liyaana, Mohamed, William, Noah, Jack, Khadijah, Yahya and Amelia.

Pre-School: Freddie, Shreya and Theo.  Reception: Luca and Yaseen.

Year1: Amber and Manavi   Year 2: Anshi, Amritha and Yaamini   Year 3: Bomi and Saimah



The Inspection Report has now been published on our website as well as the ISI website. The school was delighted with the report which highlighted all the hard work that the staff, children and parents at Highfield do throughout the year. I would like to thank our parents for their continued support. 131 parents responded to the questionnaire with an average of 97% responding favourably to the questions asked. This is an excellent response and it helps the school to maintain and continue to develop the areas across the school that you rate so highly.


News from the Kitchen

Mr McGrath is currently between hospitality posts and will return to Highfield for a short period. The school will continue to interview candidates to find the perfect person for this important role within the school. The Bursar has been interviewing throughout the holidays but we have not been able to secure a suitable candidate to cover the hours advertised. We are now looking to extend these hours to attract a larger field of candidates.


Out and About

I visited Reception on Thursday to see how they were getting on in their first full week in school. They were extremely relaxed and gave me a very warm welcome. I had actually seen them in a PE lesson on Tuesday and mistaken them for a Year 1 class because they were taking part in a very complex PE session which involved lots of instructions. They were able to follow these instructions with ease as though they had been at school for years. The other thing that really struck me when I walked into the room was the amount of children who I recognised as being among our very first babies at Highfield and here they were looking so grown up! I was delighted to welcome them into Reception and they greeted me with great enthusiasm in return! They were very keen to show me what they were doing. Ayesha, Eloise, Siya and Lola were in the role play area as sisters who were celebrating Lola’s seventeenth birthday. I said, “Seventeeeenth!” To which the response from the girls was, “We are only pretending, Mr Duke!”  They also got a real surprise when they opened the fridge and found two bells and in the oven they found a brown bear, much to their delight and giggles!  Hanna, Avni and Aarnav were playing with the garage, taking it in turns sharing and really communicating well with each other, entirely engrossed in the game. Luca, Robert and Yaseen were counting figures with Mrs Diston and were keen to show me the numbers they knew, counting aloud clearly. Aibhlin, Amelia, Georgia, Naina and Lyla were in the middle of casting and rehearsing a play which involved tap dancers, princesses, Irish dancers, knights, princes and dog paws: a fascinating cast! I can’t wait to visit again soon when the production is complete!

Thank you, Reception, it was lovely to see you all so happy in your first week of term.



Mrs Duke will be sharing the English Co-ordinator’s role with Mrs Haythornthwaite and teaching more English across Juniors and Infants. Mrs Duke has a Masters Degree in English Language and Literature from Edinburgh University and a PGCE in English from Cambridge University. She has taught English across Secondary and Primary age groups up to A-level standard and worked as Head of English in an Independent Preparatory School. I know that Mrs Duke will maintain our high standards and continue to develop English alongside Mrs Haythornthwaite across the school. She will continue to teach HPSED across the Junior School.



The school has purchased a comprehensive assessment package this year which will produce standardised scores in a range of subjects and be completed using the class laptops, ipads and in the ICT suite. The children will complete the assessments throughout the year with a few tests replacing the paper assessments that have been completed in the past. The results of these assessments will help staff to record a pupil’s progress and highlight areas of strength and weakness which will help to inform planning and any extra support that may be needed. The results of these tests will be shared at Parents’ Evening and in school reports.


Baby News

I am delighted to announce that Mr and Mrs Elstone are expecting a baby.  We all offer them our best wishes and congratulations.

Congratulations too to Mr and Mrs Williams on the safe arrival of Megan Olivia on Monday.


New Woodwind Teacher

Miss Elizabeth Duncan will be starting woodwind lessons at Highfield next Friday. She replaces Miss Williams who left at the end of last term. She comes highly recommended and is an experienced woodwind teacher. If your child is interested in learning a woodwind instrument, please see Mrs McIlwaine. This will be primarily suitable for children from Year 3 upwards.


New Car Park layout

Please could parents follow the arrows in the car park. The spaces have been arranged so you can reverse and drive straight out of the car park.


Highfield Priory PTA News

Our first meeting of the academic year is on Friday 16th September at 8.30am in the school dining room. All parents/grandparents are welcome and we would especially like to welcome our new parents to the school.

Save the Date! After the roaring success of the Cabaret and Dining Extravaganza in February earlier this year, we are holding another event on Saturday 11th March, 2017. Please save this date in your diary as you won't want to miss it!

Many thanks, as always, for your support.

Claire Jones, HPPTA Chair


Dates for the Diary

13 September Y4 Curriculum Evening 6pm         15 September Y2 Curriculum Evening 6pm

20 September Y3 Curriculum Evening 6pm         22 September Y5 Curriculum Evening 6pm


Merit Awards

RD: Robert  1D: Evie  1W: Amber  2F: Lameesa  2M: Jack

3M: Bomi  4H: Aditi  4S: Yawar  5D: Ellie  5M: Nathaniel  6H: Charlie  6J: Jacob


Thought for the Week

Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. St Francis of Assisi


Yours sincerely


J M Duke