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07 February 2020

Head's Message Friday 7 February 2020

Heads Message Friday 7 February 2020

​Ambition, Passion and Character

Regularly at the Hampshire School Chelsea, I will drop in to observe lessons and speak to the pupils about their learning. I will often reflect and consider: 'What has stretched the pupils today?’ ‘What strategies will they use to move forward with their learning?’ All questions that help me to gauge the confidence and recognise developing pupil ownership of their learning.

This week, I had the pleasure of observing Year 8 in English and their clear focus on War Poetry. The class was analysing the GCSE poem 'War Photographer' by Carol Anne Duffy. The debate centred around the role of the photographer documenting moments of conflict - does he have the right to be there? Is he showing respect to those around him? What qualities must the photographer possess to do this job?

When reflecting on this lesson, this experience reminded me of the well-known quote by Napoleon, Great ambition is the passion of a great character. ​It is a powerful, thought-provoking statement and I found myself mentally extracting the three key words as a result - ambition, passion and character.

Passion - passion is key to success. With passion comes ​self-confidence, grit and a thirst for knowledge which drives towards academic excellence. In addition, v​aluing hard work and embedding a Growth mindset approach to all aspects of learning will continue to encourage all of our pupils to embrace challenge and create a passion for learning and a resilience that is central for great accomplishment; this is seen in abundance by the time our pupils are in the Prep School.

Character - developing passion will support the development of character. The self-confidence and leadership qualities that pupils build through participation in our extensive co-curricular programme is very important. In addition, performing in music concerts, drama productions and assemblies, House competitions, such as the highly anticipated ‘House Shout’ music competition, the five School Council Development Groups all drive character and attainment​. Furthermore, our Year 8 Ambassadors, as top of the school, use their extra experience and developed character to mentor and have a positive influence on our younger pupils.

Ambition - As seen in lessons and around the school, our pupils are ambitious and enthusiastically question their own perceptions of the world, challenge information and think critically. No doubt the children in the Prep School will recall the questions, asked in preparation for interview, “What colour is Tuesday?” and “If I drop a bucket of paint on a canvas, is it art?”. Our children love this kind of question. They construct meaningful arguments, welcome differing views and share their interpretations articulately in dialogue with their peers. This engagement occurs within our increasingly academically rigorous and personally challenging curriculum which encourages ambition and prepares the children for senior school. Regular assessments, the tracking and monitoring of pupil progress, and use of online adaptive learning platforms, as well as familiarisation with the types of questions on entrance tests to selective schools, hones the skills for success in 11+ and 13+ examinations; however, it is the pupils’ higher order thinking that really enables enduring success.

To conclude, we aim for all children to reflect wisely, learn eagerly, behave with integrity and collaborate effectively so that they all have the ambition, passion and character to succeed at The Hampshire School Chelsea and their future school.

Alte Spectemus is a fitting school motto and our pupils are ambitious to be the very best they can be.

Dr Pamela Edmonds



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The Hampshire School Chelsea

15 Manresa Road, Chelsea
London, SW3 6NB

Tel: +44[0] 207 352 7077