What a difference a week makes! This time last week we were knee-deep in snow and the smiles on our children’s faces were a delight to see. Along with the fun, however, the snow and ice brought new challenges, and I was delighted that the school community grasped the opportunity to excel. We have had several parents tell us that they were proud to be parents of a school which didn’t shut and which communicated so well with them. The maintenance staff, the ground staff, many members of the support services and many other staff battled into work and went beyond what could be expected of them.

Our boarders made the most of their new snowy environment, and what fun they had! Snow play and snowy walks, along with a whole host of additional activities such as swimming and climbing meant that they enjoyed a truly special time over the few days, when it wasn’t quite business as usual!

On Monday evening we were treated to another incredibly successful evening of performing from our Performing Arts scholars, who entertained us with their ‘Simply the Best’ concert. This event showcased our gifted and talented music, dance and drama students performing to an incredibly high standard. I am sure that those of you who were able to come were as impressed as I was by all of the fantastic performances.

Very well done to all of the boys and girls who represented TPS so admirably at the Taunton Drama Festival this week. Incredible life-skills are learnt by taking these opportunities to stand in front of an audience and perform, and we are all very proud of the children who put so much heart and soul into their performances.

Our U13A Netball team travelled to Basingstoke yesterday, in preparation for their National Finals competition today. Congratulations to all of the players for getting through to this advanced level of the tournament. We look forward to hearing how the team have got on upon their return.

At the start of this term, Michelle and Chris Coleman announced that they would be coming out of Thone at the end of this academic year. We knew that Mrs Coleman’s attention to detail and care for the individual children would be a challenge to replace. However, I am delighted to say that from a field of over 50 applicants for this role, we are confident that we have managed to do just that, in the appointment of Katherine and Christian Wells, who were the unanimous choice of the interview panel. Mr and Mrs Wells currently run a similar boarding house to Thone at a strong Prep School in Salisbury called Chafyn Grove. They had already chosen to place their current Year 7 daughter into TS for the start of Year 9 as a boarder when Katherine saw, by chance, our advert lying open on the Chafyn Grove staff room table. Katherine is a high level Girls’ Games coach who will strengthen us in that department, and Christian is a policeman who currently performs weekend duties in the House at Chafyn. Chris and Michelle Coleman will be continuing their roles in TPS as Deputy Head and part-time teacher respectively.

The Pre-Prep children have been particularly enjoying the remnants of snow which have stayed for most of this week in the shady parts of the playground! When not outside making the most of their wonderful environment and facilities, they have been busy in their classrooms developing their writing, reading and producing wonderfully creative work!

Just before Christmas, Kathy McLauchlan announced that she would be retiring at the end of this academic year. Kathy has been a very strong Head and her character, personality and charismatic leadership are a challenge to replace. However, we had a very strong field of current Heads apply for the role, and I am confident that Louise Leah, current Head of EYFS at Kingswood School in Bath, will make a great success of the role. Her highly successful track record in leading and managing settings from Reception down to babies will be invaluable. She has been on the SMT of the Prep School at Kingswood, prior to that she set up and ran her own nursery for 10 years and she started her career as a Senior School teacher at Clayesmore.

Nursery has hosted its first ‘Hopper‘ Performance this week. Hopper is a brand new 20 month Theatre initiative working with Early Years Practitioners. This week children from Bishops Lydeard School joined children from Nursery Four and Reception for a performance of ‘Flip Flap and Fly’. Other performances have been scheduled for the Summer Term.

Once again, a busy and productive week in the Prep School draws to an end. This week, however, there is the bonus of an exeat to recharge our batteries! I wish you and your children a restful and enjoyable weekend.

Mr Edwards, Headmaster