Remembering HM Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022)

The school community was saddened to learn that Queen Elizabeth II passed away peacefully yesterday afternoon. As a mark of respect, the school flag has been flown at half-mast today and that will continue during this national time of mourning.

Tutor time (and my Headteacher assembly to Year 11) was adapted this morning to allow staff and students the opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary life and reign of a monarch, who lived through so much change over her seventy years on the throne. Only 20% of the country’s population were alive the last time there was a change of monarch so it is a new experience for all of us.

At the moment, the official date of the funeral is not confirmed so I am not in a position to outline what will happen next from a school perspective. During the official period of mourning, the school will of course continue as normal and there will be further opportunities for individuals and the school itself to further pay its respects. I will update you next week when I know more.

My plan this week was to write about the improvements we have made to our pastoral care to support children and families, but I will do this next week instead.

Best wishes


‘No matter how hard the past is, you can always start again’ – Buddha

I hope everyone managed to have a good holiday. Much of mine was spent redecorating, with a fair amount of house clearance taking place too. All of the things I never have time for during the school year.

Last week, despite the best efforts of the weather to ruin the event, the 2022 cohort of students received their GCSE and BTEC results. It’s one of my favourite days of the year because it is always a joy and a privilege to see the faces of students who have achieved the grades they need to go on to the next phase of their lives. This year was no exception- virtually all of the year group turned up to receive their exam slips. It was a really uplifting morning and id like to thank all of the staff who took time to come in for the event.

All of this links on to my theme this week of new beginnings. This morning, we welcomed 1172 students back to school. For all of our new Year 7s, all 236 of them, it’s a welcome to a brand-new school but the fact is the start of a new school year is an opportunity for everyone to start again. Often, your children will have new class teachers; some of them will be taking new subjects this year. Regardless, the beginning of September is a chance to make ‘New Year’ resolutions and aim to do things differently than before. It might be focusing on a subject in which they have previously struggled; it might be making sure that homework is completed on the day set rather than left to the last minute; for a few, it might be making more of an effort to arrive in school on time. Every year, I see children who have consciously tried to do things a little better than the year before. I do it myself- even at the beginning of my 27th year of teaching, I still make a little list of things that I’m going to focus on over the new academic year.

When you look at the Year 11 students who made the most progress over their five years at The Hamble School, a few key characteristics stand out. They were punctual to school and to lessons; they tried their hardest during lessons and asked questions when they didn’t know something; they completed work to the best of their ability; and they attended all of the revision lessons that they could. Most importantly, they tried to get better and didn’t give up, even when it was a struggle There are no shortcuts to academic success, but the earlier that children apply themselves the much better chances they are that they achieve the grades they want and need to go on to further success. Let’s try to promote that as much as possible this year. We don’t know what we are capable of until we really give it a try.

Another crucial factor is the home-school relationship. Over the past couple of years, we have streamlined our communications to make it easier for you to know what’s going on. The weekly message, which Mrs Valleley writes every week and posts of the website, is part of that. ClassCharts is another- you can find your child’s timetable, homework, reward points and detentions all on this app so please make sure you have access to it. This year, we have also appointed five Student Support Officers to work with our Heads of Year to support the students and yourselves. I will write about these changes in more detail next week. If there are concerns, please do contact the school- we are here to work with you to achieve the best outcomes for your children, inside and outside of the classroom. It’s a five-year journey and, for 236 children, that started today.

Have a good weekend and let’s look forward to a positive start to the year next week!


“If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.”. – Paulo Coelho.

As we come to the end of another academic year, we sadly have to say goodbye to a number of colleagues. Over the past two years, there hasn’t been a lot of staff movement, which is something that always helps when you are trying to develop consistency across the school. I’ve written before that it is always a bittersweet moment when colleagues leave. On one hand, I am disappointed that I won’t be working with them anymore; on the other, I am excited when staff leave for new opportunities, for promoted posts, or to be able to be closer to home.

Next year, the school will be increasing in size again, as part of the planned growth to year groups of 240 students (1200 students in total), so we are also in the envious position of having recruited more staff to join us than are leaving.

I would like to thank the following members of staff for their service and hard work:

  • Mrs Holden (Teacher of MFL) who is leaving to work in another Hampshire school.
  • Mr Williams Teacher of (Maths) who is leaving to take up a promoted post at another Hampshire school.
  • Miss Shore (Acting Head of MFL), who has led the department for much of the year and is leaving to take up a post nearer to home.
  • Mrs Nayyar (Assistant SENDCo) who has been promoted to a senior role at another school.
  • Mr Holland (Cover Supervisor), who is leaving his post to go into teacher training. We will still be seeing him though as he will be completing his training at Hamble.
  • Miss Sherrell (Attendance Officer), who is leaving to take up a promoted post as Head of Year at another Hampshire school.
  • Mr Duckworth (Teacher of Science), who is relocating to Cornwall.
  • Mrs Sargent (Head of Geography) who is leaving to take up a promoted post at a school in Southampton.
  • Mrs Roome (Head of Year), who is moving to another Head of Year position at a Hampshire school.
  • Miss Niblock (Deputy Head of Science), who is leaving to take up a promoted post at another Hampshire school.
  • Miss Wesson (Teacher of Maths) who is leaving because of family commitments.

Thank you to all of the members of staff mentioned above. They will be much missed at Hamble, but I wish them well in their future roles.

Today, we are finishing with our usual Celebration Assemblies to try to recognise the hard work of so many students across the school. Last week we had our annual Prize-Giving Evening at the Ageas Hilton hotel, where we recognised the achievements of over 160 students. Whilst these events are always very positive, I think it is important to recognise that that are many students who also work hard throughout the year and are unable to attend simply because of the restriction in numbers. It is something that we will focus on more next year so that we can continue to encourage hard work, effort, and attitude to a wider range of students.

I hope that you and your families are all able to have a restful and enjoyable holiday. Please all be safe and I look forward to seeing your children back in school on Friday 2nd September for the start of the new academic year.

Best wishes


“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself,”- Henry Ford

One of the things I always stress when I talk to students is the importance of collaboration and community. we currently have 1140 students and approximately 140 members of staff. Once we take into account approximately 2000 parents and carers, you can see that the Hamble community is a large one. It’s certainly a lot of different opinions and expectations to cater for. One of the ways we try to do this is through the questionnaires and surveys that we occasionally send out.

Earlier this year, a large number of you completed a parent/ carer survey that provided us with some really good feedback about the things you think are working at the school, as well as some areas that you would like us to address. One of those was communication, and hopefully you are pleased with some of the changes we have made, including:

  • A redesign of the school’s website, with more helpful tabs and links displayed. This is to make navigation of the site much easier.
  • A weekly message, summarising the main events taking place in school. This has reduced the number of separate letters being sent out.
  • Changing the school’s communication system and introducing ‘In Touch’. This has resulted in us using text messages more regularly, which is something that you had asked for.
  • Introducing a school Facebook page, which highlights key information for you.
  • Improving the use of the school’s Twitter page, which contains regular updates on what is going on.

I recognise that there are still areas that we need to improve- sometimes communication between staff and parents/ carers is not sufficiently clear- but we remain committed to working in partnership with you as closely as we can. When there are concerns, please do contact your child’s form tutor or subject teacher. Often, these concerns are a result of a simple misunderstanding. If your concern cannot be resolved at this level, then you might need to speak to your child’s Head of Year who will normally be able to help you. What I can say, is that I am very proud to lead a team of committed and caring staff who want all children at The Hamble School to do their very best. ‘Achieving Excellence Together’ really sums up our approach- we believe that working collaboratively brings the best results.

One of the other areas you asked us to look at changing was school uniform. A couple of months ago, we sent out a separate survey on uniform, which a number of you completed. We also held a Parent Forum, which was led by Mrs Pennington-Chick (Deputy Headteacher) and Mrs Valleley (Assistant Headteacher). As a result of this collaborative process, we have made some changes to the uniform for September 2022. Please see the new Uniform Policy below:

I am very proud of how smart our students look in their uniform and most of the parent/ carer responses wanted minimal or no changes. I’ve written before that my attitude towards uniform is that if you have it, it’s important that everyone complies with it. The word ‘uniform’ means the same. Having a uniform policy does not impinge on students’ rights or their sense of individuality- it just means that we have a dress code when attending school. Staff have a separate dress code, which I occasionally have to reinforce when there are individual misunderstandings.

The main points to note are:

School jumper: This was the most commonly mentioned item, and a number of you asked if we would look at making this optional. From September 2022, the school jumper will be an optional item of school uniform. Hoodies and non-school jumpers are not permitted, so if a child wears a jumper it must be a regulation one, but we recognise that some children find it uncomfortable to wear a blazer and jumper.

School Socks: We’ve amended the policy to allow plain dark grey, navy, and black socks to be worn. White socks and patterned socks are still not permitted but we’ve widened the colour range to make it easier for you to find suitable socks for school.

Shoes: We’re allowing patent leather shoes again, after requests from students and parents/ carers. We’ve also update our ‘Shoe Guidance’ list, which is also available on the website here: Please look through this document so there are no misunderstandings. Like most schools, we don’t allow trainers, trainer-style shoes, canvas shoes, or shoes with decorative stitching.

Trousers/ Shirts: We’ve indicated some alternative shops where these can be purchased.

Blazers: These don’t have to be bought from Skoolkit- they can be sourced elsewhere and a school badge attached.

We will consider alternatives to the Thornton school skirt for September 2023.

Finally, in relation to piercings, if your child is going to have their nose pierced or additional piercings, please do that at the beginning of the school holiday so that these piercings can be removed for school in September. Every year, there are a couple of students/ families who say that a piercing cannot be removed as it has only recently been completed. This leads to some awkward conversations to begin the school year.

Have a good weekend.

Best wishes


‘Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead’- Nelson Mandela

I hope that you all had a good half-term and were able to enjoy the long Bank Holiday weekend. Seventy years is a notable landmark- only two monarchs have reigned for longer than the Queen- and there were a range of celebrations up and down the country over the long weekend, ranging from formal processions in the heart of London, to the street parties that brought communities together. Many students this week have had really interesting stories about the activities they took part in last weekend. I went to see The Killers in London with my daughter which was, in its own way, a celebration as they were tickets I bought six months before the pandemic started. It’s the longest wait I’ve ever had to watch a band (over two and a half years) but worth every minute.

This week’s House assemblies have focused on celebrating success. When reflecting on success, I think it’s important to remember two things: success can be measured in different ways; and it is relative to the individual. The first success is that we have currently awarded 430,000 positive behaviour points on Class Charts, which means that we will definitely pass the half a million mark before the end of this academic year. It’s an incredible figure and one that I always take great pride in highlighting to the students. We considered the many different areas where the children succeed every week, ranging from academic, sporting, creative, helping at home, and friendship. I’m a firm believer that your children should try to embrace everything the school has to offer. I want to see as many of them try new activities, take on a leadership role, or perform in a performance. These are the kinds of memories that will stay with them long after they have left the school.

Another success worth celebrating is the work that the student council has completed over the past few years. One of the key roles of the student council is to highlight areas of the school that they would like improved. As a consequence of this dialogue, new canopies have been built to provide space to socialise at break and lunch, catering pods have been purchased to reduce waiting times for food, all of the toilet blocks have been refurbished, and the school has a flourishing LGBTQ+ group that helps us celebrate the diversity within our community. We will continue to listen to the students to see what more we can do over the next few years to improve their experience of school.

It has been a delight to see trips and visits happening again after two years of restrictions. This week alone, there have been visits to the school to support a PSHCRE day and a local college coming in to talk to Year 10s about their options. Later this term, we will be holding an Arts festival for Years 7 and 8, a whole-school Sports Day towards the end of term, many transition events for the Year 6s readying themselves to come to the school in September, and a Presentation Evening at the Aegeus Bowl next month. Many opportunities to celebrate the diverse talents of our student body.

Have a good weekend.

Best wishes


‘The first time you do a thing is always exciting’-Agatha Christie

This is a really short term- only five weeks- but a particularly busy one. And, as it happens, we have a number of firsts that have either taken place or are due to take place during this time.

Last week, we held our first face-to-face Parents’ Evening since the pandemic started just over two years ago. Following parental feedback that the majority of you would prefer face-to-face meetings rather than using the online system that we have been using since 2020, this ran last Thursday. It was a really good feeling to see so many parents and students safely back on site. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback afterwards. This helps us to pick up on whole-school issues, like behaviour, bullying, and teaching and learning, as well as practicalities linked to running a large-scale event on the school site. I have read through all of the comments and we will be taking them into account for our next set of evenings this Autumn.

This week, GCSEs officially started for our Year 11 students. Another first- the last set of public examinations was in 2019. It seems such a long time away and yet it has felt so familiar this week- groups of students revising and discussing approaches to questions are commonplace in the school at the moment. We run a comprehensive set of warm-up sessions before every examination, with every student in attendance receiving a breakfast bar and bottle of water to ensure that their bodies (as well as their minds) are suitably fueled. I know it’s a stressful time for students, parents/ carers, and staff alike. It’s been a very positive start- let’s keep it up, Year 11.

This week, Mrs Pennington-Chick (Deputy Headteacher) and Mrs Valleley (Assistant Headteacher) ran our first Parent Forum in three years. The focus of this parent/ carer consultation was uniform, something that I had promised we would address. Thank you to all of the parents/ carers who were able to attend. The online consultation is still open until Wednesday 25th May so I will discuss the findings properly after half-term. If you would like your views to be known and taken into consideration on this issue, please click on the following link:

Finally, next Friday, we will be celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The actual date is, of course, over the half-term and the Local Authority are giving the children the additional day at the beginning of the summer holidays. In celebration of this historic event- Her Majesty The Queen will become the first British monarch to celebrate seventy years on the throne- we will be having a non-school uniform with the theme being red, white and blue. Students will be choosing a suitable charity to support with the proceedings of this fundraiser.

Seventy years is an extraordinary length of time to have been on the throne. So long, in fact, that 80% of the UK population have only ever known one monarch. Finding that out took seconds on an internet search engine and it made me reflect that when I was a child (a long time ago but nowhere near the length of time the Queen has been on the throne, no matter what some of my colleagues may occasionally suggest) I was reliant on encyclopedias for information, many of which were terribly out-of-date. It’s incredible how quickly the world has changed in some respects.

Have a good weekend.

Best wishes


“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” – Mother Theresa

We’ve been back two weeks and, whilst the time has flown as it always does in schools, it also feels like a long time since the Easter holidays. It’s hard to believe that it’s four weeks since we had a non-school uniform day to raise money for the people of Ukraine. There was a decent smattering of yellow and blue across the school that day, exactly what I would expect from a community that passionately cares about others in the manner that ours does.

We also had some great news on the sporting front at the end of last term, with two of our football teams celebrating winning their respective leagues. The Year 7/8 girls’ team beat Weston 10-0 to clinch the league title, with goals from Sophie E (x4), Scarlett W (x3), Poppy A (x2) and Evie L. The girls won all of their games across the academic year, our very own ‘Invincibles’. The Year 7 boys’ team also completed an unbeaten season by winning 4-2 against Weston. Goals from Joe T (x2), Lucas L and Louis T. They showed great character to come from behind at half time to win the game.

The Easter holidays were a very busy time of the year. There were Year 11 revision sessions taking place across both weeks of the holiday. I am very grateful to all of the staff who voluntarily gave up their time to make sure that the students are getting the best possible preparation for their GCSE and BTEC examinations. These are the first set of external exams since 2019- it seems incredible just to write that- and I know that it is an anxious time for students, staff and parents. The key thing to remember is that it is still not too late to make a final push to improve grades. It isn’t over until the pens are put down in the final exam! The school has been equally busy the past two weeks with intervention sessions running after school, and I continue to be impressed by the number of students who stay behind to maximise their chances of success. Keep it up Year 11.

A number of building works also took place over the Easter holidays. A drainage project, which will reduce the amount of flooding from the field behind Beijing/ Durban, was completed over the two-week break. This then allowed us to install a fourth canopy. The final work is being completed over this weekend and the students will be able to use it from Monday. Over the summer holidays, we will be refurbishing our Catering room as well as some internal work which will give us two additional classrooms in the Skills Centre.

We always begin the term with House Assemblies. Last week, these were run by myself and Mrs Pennington-Chick (Deputy Headteacher). The theme of the assemblies was on ‘Time’, specifically about the importance of using our time wisely. It’s something that I was reflecting on over the Easter holiday. The five-year journey of the children at this school is very important to all of us- it’s really important that we (as parents and educators) get it right as much as possible; it’s equally important that the children maximise their opportunities during this brief window of time. Now that the pandemic is in our rear-view windows (albeit that we are still being sensible about hand and respiratory hygiene), it is crucial that we grasp any and all opportunities to make the most of what education remains. For the Year 11s, that means focusing over these last few weeks; for other year groups it means trying to do their best in each and every lesson. And, with trips, visits, PSHCRE days, sports days, and other events coming up this term, I hope that everyone will do their best to make the most of the remaining ten weeks.

Finally, we are planning our first Parent Forum since Covid began two years ago. This one is on uniform and will be led by Mrs Pennington-Chick (Deputy Headteacher) and Mrs Valleley (Assistant Headteacher). Spaces will be limited during the meeting itself but a questionnaire will also go out to parents and carers so that you all have an opportunity to make your views known.

Best wishes


‘Culture does not make people. People make culture.’- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Culture is really important in any workplace and, for me, it’s the beating pulse of a school. When I was first appointed Headteacher (almost four years ago), I remember that people used to ask me what my vision was for the school. It was, and is, fairly simple:

  • Good behaviour across the school, with strong relationships at the heart of everything we do
  • A good teacher in every classroom so that children can achieve their best
  • Students achieving their best in and outside of lessons
  • The best possible facilities for students and staff
  • Opportunities outside of the classroom

I’ve written many times about the importance of extra-curricular activities. Even now, over 30 years since I finished school, I have very clear memories of going to museums and theatre visits, a ski trip to France when I was in Year 7, and representing the school in sport. Sport plays a big part in the culture of The Hamble School. We are particularly fortunate to have access to an incredible all-weather pitch, the most impressive gymnasium I’ve ever seen, and a state-of-the-art gym. Recent footballing successes have included the senior girls’ team (Years 9/10) beating Redbridge on penalties in the quarter final of the Southampton Schools’ Cup; the junior girls (Years 7/8) beating Upper Shirley 6-1; and Reggie B and Lewis O (both in Year 9) representing Hampshire in football. It’s not just sport- two weeks ago, the Music department ran a fantastic concert that showcased the talent and dedication of our students. The same week, I was overwhelmed by the students’ response to Red Nose Day. Bake sales raised over £500, with some incredible efforts from individual bakers. Below is one of my favourites.

This Friday, we are having a non-school uniform day. Students and staff are encouraged to wear blue and yellow in support of the Ukrainian people. The money raised will be sent to the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) to support their efforts in helping the people of Ukraine.

We’ve also been looking at staff training this term. We have over one hundred members of staff- teaching and non-teaching- so consistency is really important. As we move out of covid, we have been able to restart training sessions face-to-face rather than online. This is definitely helping us to build a common understanding. Every Monday, we have 1 ½ hours of training time. This term, we have focused on developing behaviour management strategies, improving staff’s awareness of Special Educational Needs (SEN), teaching and learning strategies, and moderation of progress and attainment data.

The covid rules have changed again from Friday 1st April:

  • Adults with the symptoms of a respiratory infection, who have a high temperature or feel unwell, should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until they feel well enough to resume normal activities and they no longer have a high temperature.
  • Children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature should stay at home and avoid contact with other people. They can go back to school, college or childcare when they no longer have a high temperature, and they are well enough to attend.
  • Adults with a positive COVID-19 test result should try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 5 days, which is when they are most infectious. For children and young people aged 18 and under, the advice is 3 days.

Covid levels among staff are very high at the moment, and we have had to buy in a lot of supply cover to get us through the last week of term. Unlike many local schools, we have not had to send any year groups home because of insufficient staffing and we will do our best to get to the end of the term without doing so. Hopefully, this latest wave will have run its course by Monday 25th April when we come back into school.

I hope that you are all able to have a good holiday.

Best wishes


“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – Henry Ford

I am sure that many of you have children who are gamers. The computer games industry is a multi-billion pound one and budgets allocated to some games can rival those of blockbuster Hollywood films. I know my children have often waited for months for the latest game to be launched, pre-ordering it to make sure that they are among the first people to experience it.

And yet it’s not unusual for early reviews of these games to complain about bugs and glitches that make the playable experience less enjoyable. Back in 2020, Sony took the unprecedented step of recalling the game Cyberpunk 2077 because of its unplayability. This is the equivalent of Marvel pulling one of its films because the visual effects look awful. These glitches are not always a surprise to the company. In the games industry, flaws are expected and game developers will then issue ‘patches’ (which are in essence bits of reprogramming) to correct these errors. The argument, as I understand it, is that waiting for the product to be perfect would lead to games never being released- it is only through the extensive testing by thousands of gamers playing the game that the final version can be finalised.

Last half-term, I wrote to you following the feedback you gave us when completing the parent/ carer survey. Improving behaviour is a priority for the school- like all schools since Covid, we have dealt with increased incidents of defiance, mobile phone use, and verbal/ physical aggression. There is no silver bullet to improving behaviour- if there was, all schools would employ the same strategy and behaviour would be good locally and nationally. Students as a whole suffered during the two lockdowns and, whilst there has been some minor investment in the form of catch-up funding, schools have also had to consider the impact on children’s social skills and mental health.

Our strategy for behaviour recovery focuses on the following key areas:

  • Regular continuous professional development for staff
  • Revamping the tutor programme to focus on interactions and language used to resolve conflicts
  • Improving facilities for students to make their day-to-day experience better
  • Improving the provision for mental health where possible
  • Improved tracking of student behaviour, with weekly meetings to focus on students whose behaviour needs improvement (this also includes additional support where necessary)
  • Sharing behaviour data with parents/ carers through the Class Charts app

We have also been running weekly SEN (Special Educational Needs) briefings that focus on students’ needs and strategies for staff to use to support these students. I have deliberately not included this point in the above list because I wouldn’t want to imply that SEN students are responsible for poor behaviour. But it’s an additional way in which we are trying to improve staff understanding of individual needs.

Class Charts was introduced two and a half years ago because it is very easy for staff to record positive and challenging behaviour using this system. At the beginning of the half-term, when I led House assemblies with the whole school, three hundred thousand positive points had been awarded and the ratio of positive to negative was nine to one. It’s always important to focus on the vast majority of students who are getting it right on a daily basis.

From the beginning of half-term, we have been sharing the behaviour data via the Class Charts app. The aim is for us to use this app more and more as time progresses. The rationale behind sharing this information is simple: firstly, I think it’s important to let you know how your child is behaving; secondly, I am hoping that this will lead to improvement in behaviour if parents/carers are able to support the school by discussing behaviour at home. I am expecting there to be some glitches- in the first week alone, parents raised a few with us that we were able to resolve after contacting Class Charts directly. Yesterday after school, Mrs Emmett-Callaghan, who is leading this initiative, delivered training to staff so that we can use this system more effectively. It will take time. Please bear with us.  

A few thoughts about detentions.

(1) I am hoping that the joined-up thinking by sharing behaviour via the Class Charts app will lead to a decrease in detentions. When I was at school (a long, long time ago), I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t particularly bothered about getting a detention. I was, however, bothered about my parents finding out- the telling off and subsequent punishment at home was always worse to me than the school detention. It did make me improve my behaviour. My mum might not agree, but there were definitely times when I chose to do the right thing rather than incur my mother’s wrath!

(2) Schools do have the authority to set detentions, as set out in the ‘Behaviour and Discipline in Schools’ document below:

‘Behaviour and Discipline in Schools’ – Download (PDF)

Schools do not need to have permission from parents/ carers to set these detentions and they can be with during the day or after school (including weekends, although I don’t know any schools that do this and I would never want to).

(3) All detentions will now be set via the Class Charts app so it is really important that you have downloaded this app to your phone. We will also be using the app to record attendance. Details on how to download this app are included in the school’s weekly message on our website.

Last Tuesday was a staff training day. The whole of this day was devoted to behaviour management. Jarlath O’Brien, a HIAS Inspector, led a whole-school session on behaviour management. The rest of the training focused on scenario-based training for all staff, teaching and non-teaching. More sessions are scheduled in for the rest of the school year. 


I have to end this on a sad note.

Those of you who attended the school as students yourselves may remember Mr Nick Bacon. Mr Bacon gave the school over 30 years of service and was Head of History for much of this time. Even after he left, he was a regular supply teacher and was a frequent visitor to the school. I was contacted at the beginning of half term with the sad news that he had passed away. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank him for everything he did for the school and to offer my condolences to his family. I have received a number of emails and letters from the community, all of which have stressed what a positive impact he was on you all. He will be much missed.

Best wishes


“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean

Two weeks ago, I took the decision to write to the community following a series of unacceptable behaviour incidents inside and outside of school. If you missed it, a copy of the letter can be found here.

To be honest, I deliberated quite a while before writing that letter. I always try to be open and honest about what is going on in the school because I don’t think anything is gained by doing otherwise. You have entrusted the education of your children to this school and you deserve to know what is happening. On the other hand, it was a difficult letter to write because I was both shocked and embarrassed by the behaviour of a small number of students.

Not surprisingly, some of you contacted the school to find out what sanctions were going to be put in place. Whilst I understand why people want to know this, we are unable to share specific details because they are ultimately between the school, the individual child, and their parent or carer.

Following on from my letter, I led assemblies with all year groups. There were a few key messages in it:

  • The first one is that it’s important to remember that the vast majority of children behave well at school. They come to school prepared; they are on time for their lessons; they try their best; and they have good relationships with their peers and with staff. The current ratio of positive vs negative on Class Charts is 9:1, which means, as I told all the students in assemblies last week, that there are always many more children doing the right thing when someone isn’t doing what they should.
  • The second one is that whilst the needs of the individual are very important, so are the needs of the majority. Poor behaviour during lessons and unstructured time affects the learning and wellbeing of other students. This cannot be accepted.
  • The third one is that actions have consequences. As a result of the unacceptable behaviour that took place in January, some children will not be returning to The Hamble School.

I want to finish with a positive message because I think it’s important to recognise firstly that most children get it right most of the time, and secondly that bad behaviour doesn’t mean that a child is bad. It’s the behaviour that needs to change, not the child. Bill Rogers, a behavioural educationalist, uses this visual aid to help teachers put behaviour into perspective:

Like me, you probably focus on the small black dot (representing poor behaviour) rather than the white area (representing good behaviour) that actually takes up 99.9% of the square. Behaviour can be a little like that- our attention is drawn to the relatively small negatives rather than the overwhelming positives. Just last week, a parent emailed me about the kind and generous actions of some Year 8 students who took time to look after a dog that they found on their way to school. They looked after the dog until the owner could be contacted and collect it. There are countless stories like this every day in our school community.

One of the other things that makes Hamble such a good place to work is the determination and perseverance of staff and students. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the vast majority of Year 11 students attend intervention sessions after school; often in the school holidays, I also see them coming in for additional lessons. Students at this school know the importance of achieving their potential- the more qualifications a child achieves, the more options they have in their post-16 lives. If you look at the latest edition of our newsletter , you can see examples of this lower down the school too.

As always, thank you for your support. A positive home-school relationship is important to ensure the very best outcomes, inside and outside of the classroom, for the students at The Hamble School.

Best wishes