Head's Newsletter 13 November 2020

could watch the laying of the wreaths on our war memorials and commemorate with 2 minutes silence the many pupils from Tiffin school who died, and in particular Herbert Alsford from World War One and William Foster from World War Two. It was a very well observed and moving occasion. In terms of wider opportunities, we continue to conduct as many clubs and competitions as we can. We were able to have a very impressive online piano competition and have also engaged very well with online debating and chess.

Dear Parents, It’s great to be back after half term and to see the students enjoying being in school again. Obviously the Covid situation has got more serious nationwide with the lockdown starting last week, but I am pleased the students are taking the measures we have put in place very seriously, and following the rules. Yesterday we had a random inspection by the HSE who are inspecting Covid arrangements in schools for the government, and I’m very pleased to report that the HSE were very happy indeed with the arrangements we have in

place. Of course, none of these can entirely eliminate the risk of the spread of Covid, but with everyone playing their part, they certainly minimise that risk, and allow some level of normality to continue in schools. Covid continues to impact on much of what we do, forcing us to do things differently. Last week with Year 11 parents, we had our first online parent consultations, and the feedback from staff and parents appeared to be very

On the sports side of things we did at least manage to get in a competitive netball match before the lockdown and have continued as many activities and as much training as we possibly can. Sport is of course being revolutionised by our use now of the new gym. The students who have so far been fortunate enough to use the gym are undoubtedly impressed by the new facility, and we look forward to an ever- increasing sports programme, especially once the lockdown

restrictions diminish. There are reports of all these matters in the newsletter and we continue with part two of the feature on A Level Art produced during lockdown. Finally, I must say a massive congratulations to Dr Frost who has been successfully shortlisted for the Global Teacher of the Year Award. This is an unbelievable achievement, and a huge credit to Dr Frost for the incredible work he does to facilitate Maths teaching not just in Tiffin, but across the country, and indeed internationally. Yours, M D Gascoigne, Headteacher

positive. We look forward to further parent consultations done in the same way with other groups later in the year, continuing with Year 13 parents in December, following on from the Year 13 exams in another week’s time. For Year 13 this has indeed been a very busy time with the students making UCAS applications, taking admission tests, any in many cases preparing for online interviews. We also had to conduct one of our annual events very differently this year by doing an online act of remembrance. This meant that all year groups


Monday 23 November

Year 13 Exams start

Wednesday 25 November

Year 10 Study Skills Workshop

Tuesday 1 December

ABRSM Exams and Soloists Recital 7pm

Tuesday 8 December

Autumn Ensemble Concert 7pm Online

Tuesday 15 December

Year 13 Online Parent Consultations: School finishes 12.30 for KS3 and 13.20 for all others

Friday 18 December

Last day of term


The Tiffin School Debating Society is probably as big as it has ever been and it is certainly thriving. There are online societies for Juniors (Wednesdays) and Intermediates (Thursdays) and in the Sixth Form live debates take place in year group bubbles every Tuesday after school. Most Tuesdays there will be four or five different debates.”

The Tiffin School Debating Society were invited to compete in the London Sixth Form Online Debating Competition, hosted by Julian Bell of the Godolphin and Latymer school. We were up against schools from across the UK and beyond, with schools in Spain and the USA also taking part. Naturally, we seized the opportunity and sent in two teams of our best debaters, Lottie Fry and Adam Shakoor as Team A, with Sam Bradley and Joe Manley as Team B. The qualifying round was held on November 11th, with both teams participating in 2 debates, fighting to claim a place in the top 8 and go through to the finals. Arguing on the difficult motions of 'This House Would Make It Illegal Not to Take a Proven Vaccine' and 'This House Would Tax Meat', both teams thought of convincing and original arguments in a short time, presenting them with confidence and conviction. At the end of the day, both teams did remarkably well with Team A scoring 102/120, coming 2nd and 1st in their debates and Team B scoring 85/120, coming 2nd in both. This secured Team A, 3rd place overall and Team B, 6th, in the face of opposition from other seasoned and admirable debaters. We are proud to say both of our teams are progressing to the finals where we have no doubt they will impress once again.


Grace Brookes (YR 12) was published in the Richmond and Twickenham Times this week. Grace has been part of the Young Reporter Scheme since September and submits articles on a regular basis. This article was called “Our Charity shops are changing but how?” and was inspired by her interest in Human Geography and the changing High Street as well as the Vintage clothing items available in so many Charity shops. Grace also started volunteering for Oxfam in August. Well done Grace! I am sure this will be the first of many interesting articles.



Maths Teacher Dr Frost has been nominated for the Global Teachers Award and is in the top ten Finalists. Dr Frost has his own website where his passion is to inspire and engage all maths learners across the ability spectrum regardless of financial background. Both his resources and online platform continue to be completely free to all. His teaching resources have been downloaded over 7 million times with in excess of 1 million page views on his site per day, and students have answered nearly 100 million questions online on his online platform, DrFrostMaths. We wish him every luck to win.

The board position in Senior House Chess in the Match between Darshan (Senior Captain, KM) and Oscar (Senior Vice Captain, Raleigh). Darshan (Black) can execute Checkmate on the next move – can you spot it? Since lockdown the Tiffin Chess club has gone online. While the social aspect is much missed the competition and new opportunities have provided a fresh impetus to all things chess. Over 20 students represented the school competing in four different inter school tournaments against other top schools from all over the country. The team has always come in the top three but is yet to take home a trophy. Within Tiffin more than 250 students have signed up to Tiffin School’s online chess club which is currently hosting the house competitions using a Swiss format on Lichess. Record participation in senior chess saw 70 girls and boys from the sixth form compete in a fierce tournament. Year 8 and 11 competitions have also been well attended and Livingstone currently lead the houses by a narrow margins from Churchill Gordon. The Year 7 competition takes place on Monday.

You can view his extensive media coverage here.


This year we marked remembrance with our own online commemoration, laying wreathes on our memorial tablets. The Tiffin Memorial was put up in 1919, and ini- tially listed 117 names of Tiffinians known to have died. Since then, more ex-pupils names have been discovered and a further 11 names have been added. There are a further 115 names of those who died in World War Two. Many of these students who died in the wars were barely any older than students in the Sixth Form. Each year we specifically pick out and re- member an individual name from each of the two war memorials. These names are engraved on the tablets. From the First World War remembered this year Herbert Edward Alsford. Herbert was born in November

he immediately began training with the Royal Fly- ing Corps in December 1917. He was being trained as an observer and was as- signed to 99 Squadron, a bombing squadron, and in March 1918 moved with his Squadron to France. His first mission, now as part of the newly formed Royal Air Force, was on the 21st May 1918 targetting the railway yards at Stuttgart. The squadron were flying in new De Havilland bomber aircraft, the DH9, but these were underpowered and frequently had engine malfunctions. On August 30 th , after one bombing raid, Herbert’s plane was forced to land with engine problems, which were repaired overnight. However, on the following morning Herbert’s machine stalled shortly after take off, and both he and the pilot were killed in the crash. Both are buried at

1899, and lived in Kings Road Kingston. He en- tered the school in September 1911. Very little is known of his time in school apart from the facts that he was a musician and a keen student of botany, and

Essegney Military Cem- etery, near Charmes in a part of France where it is unusual to find British casualties of World War 1. He was just 18 years and 9 months old. His young- er brother also attend- ed Tiffin leaving in 1919.

gained the London University Senior Matricula- tion (similar to A Levels) in 1915, with distinctions in Mathematics and Geography. His parents could not afford to send him to University but he be- came a clerk in Cox’s Bank. During the war, both his parents were working for Sopwiths, the aircraft manufacturers, in Kingston, who produced such famous planes such as the Sopwith Pup, and Sopwith Camel. Their factory was over the road from the current Tiffin School, in Canbury Park Road, and the remains of the air- craft factory buildings are still there. Herbert was called up in November 1917, and perhaps due to the family interest in Sopwith’s,

Herbert’s name is com- memorated on the Kingston War memorial and is the first name on the School’s World War One memorial.


The unit was on daily callout and was moved to East London to deal with the increasing number of unexploded bombs, or UXBs in the docks.

On 5th October they were called to deal with a 100kg UXB which had landed in the front garden of 121 Connor Road, Dagenham, one of five hous- es in a terrace on a 1930s estate. The sappers were called upon to dig around the bomb so that the two officers, including William, could get to the detonator to defuse the bomb. The bomb turned out to be a new type with two anti- disturbance detonators, and exploded shortly after the two officers started work.

From World War Two, we remembered William Foster. He was born in 1902 and attended Tiffin School between 1914 and 1918. He was a mem- ber of the school’s Scout Troop. After leaving school, he was apprenticed to a surveying firm in Kingston and qualified as a chartered surveyor in 1925. He was involved in some of the survey work for the new A3 Kingston bypass opened in 1927. In 1938 he joined the Officers’ Reserve of the Ter- ritorial Army, which in the event of war would be called up. He was assigned to the Royal Engineers and duly called up in September 1939. In September 1940, the Germans began to bomb London, in what became known as the Blitz, and William was assigned to No 5 Bomb Disposal Company, part of 33 Royal Engineers Regiment, at Acton, West London. William’s training in Bomb Disposal was very much on the job.

The force of the explosion from such a huge bomb killed the two officers and three of the sappers. All remaining six sappers in the unit were injured, five so seriously that they were discharged from the Army. The terrace of houses was destroyed and a further 100 houses damaged. Today there is a small plaque on the front of 121 Connor Road recording the names of the five men who died. William was buried with full military honours in St Nicholas’ Churchyard, Thames Ditton, leaving be- hind a wife and son. For reasons of morale, the cause of his death was not made public at the time, except that he had died on active service. He was 38 years old.

Tiffin School Piano Competition 2020— Online

Tiffin's annual piano competition this year took place online, with around forty impressive video entries submitted as part of the preliminary round, before our twelve finalists were invited to the Walden Hall to record their performances for the competition final. It was a delight for the first time to present the preliminary round, which normally is heard only by our adjudicators, to a wider audience, as pupils' video submissions were streamed online on Wednesday 4th November. Following recording, the final round was streamed one week later. Young pianist Thomas Kelly, a prize winner from the RCM, offered excellent advice to our finalists as he adjudicated the junior and senior competitions, selecting as our worthy competition winners Natasha (12CD, senior) and Borimir (9AN, junior) whilst awarding Jay (13MO) and Mikel (7RG) commendations in their respective competitions. These performances and many more can be watched again through the Virtual Concerts page of the Tiffin Music site: sites.google.com/tiffin.kingston.sch.uk/music/virtual-concerts

progression and this shows in their performances already during training and in the gym.

Following our last report all things Covid have obviously ramped up again which has meant more restrictions in our field in particular! Having said that, we have maintained practices between the start and end of school and there are no empty spaces in the sports timetable during this period. It is a pleasure to report that the girls’ netball team got their first fixture of the year in against Grey Court away. Even though the result may not have gone our way, it was nice to see some competitive sport played following our early autumn cricket fixtures. The most excitement has been generated by the opening of the brand new fitness suite and sports hall extension! A timetable has been developed to utilise the fitness suite to the max, given the current restrictions, and allow students to develop themselves in a way that may not have been possible before. Together with our new strength and conditioning coach, Chris Thomas, students representing school teams

The sports department believe in building an ethos that relates back to increasing participation through the year groups, aiding progression through advancement in coaching technique and facilities, where the fitness suite now plays an important role. This ultimately improving performance across the board and building the foundation for elite level athletes and all involved to be operating at optimum levels. The fitness suite is a huge asset and a necessary piece in the sports departments’ master plan to lift sporting performances and be competing at the highest levels possible.

have been given priority slots in their year groups and individualised programmes to develop their all- round performance. The sixth formers especially have shown great enthusiasm for


Currently students are working on their individual projects and producing 3D and 2D art in a range of media


Lizzie Isabel - digital painting

Neve is working on Impressionist and Pre-Raphaelite landscapes

Cleo is exploring Chinese woodblock prints and the Hong Kong Protests

Frankie is investigating identity and created a performance inspired by Nick Cave’s sound suits. The dyed fabric for the suits is featured above .


Catherine is developing work on the theme of natural forms and cells, combining her interest in Art and Biology

Surya Paraneetharan Year 12 still life work

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