Learn something new in 2018: make trying a new skill and enriching your knowledge your New Year's Resolution

Adam D'Souza, the "Head of Grown-Ups" at Hampton Court House, challenges you to learn something new with the school's unique Form Seven programme of courses for adults

Every January, many of us make a New Year's resolution. However, if you are anything like me, then often these resolutions are quickly forgotten in the rush of life and work. Sometimes you need a little push to stick with your resolution and achieve your goals.

As Hampton Court House's "Head of Grown-Ups”, I challenge you to learn something new this January: try a new skill, meet new people and explore new perspectives. Two years ago we made our own resolution to throw open our classrooms to everyone. We wanted to offer people of all ages the opportunity to pursue the adventure of learning – after all, why should school finish at 18?

Form Seven was our answer to that question. It is our programme of courses for adults. You can join us each week to learn a new language or creative skill in our beautiful Georgian school. We open our doors to local people, who join our pupils, parents, grandparents and staff, to experience inspiring lessons in the languages and arts.

What you can discover

This term we are offering courses in French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, art, creative writing, ballet and sewing. Some highlights include:

Drawing and painting
The Sketchbook Club is a space where artists of any level – absolute beginner or experienced alike – can practise using different techniques, materials and colour palettes. This inspiring art course is all about playing, experimenting, having the freedom to “see what happens if...”

Accelerate your French is for intermediate French speakers to help you build towards fluency. You can discover the rich culture of the French-speaking world with guided journeys through literature, politics, film, food and the arts. Practise speaking and listening in real-life situations. If you wish, we can help you gain the French Ministry of Education's internationally-recognised DELF certification.

The BBC, Telegraph and Guardian have all extolled the benefits of ballet as an all-round workout, improving your core strength and posture, sculpting your figure and improving your flexibility. Lessons start at the barre and then move on to more expressive dance routines. All are welcome for a unique, sociable fitness experience – no pink tights or tutus are required!

Spreading a love of learning

Form Seven courses are taught by the same teachers who work with our pupils at Hampton Court House, using the same inspiring yet systematic methods. Language tutors are native speakers, and the arts tutors are practising creative professionals who love to share their expertise; their enthusiasm for their craft is infectious. Our approach has been recognised by UNESCO, the United Nations' educational and cultural organisation, and the Good Schools' Guide.
The tutors dedication and care for their grown-up students can be seen in the wonderful testimonials received for Form Seven courses:

“Ballet was lovely. I have the feeling I have grown a few inches taller since Thursday evening!”
Marie Chesnier, East Molesey
“I was in heaven at the Sketchbook Club. Brenda was lovely and very inspiring. I will definitely be coming each week.”
Bethany Randall, West Molesey
“If I had had a lesson like we had on Thursday when I was nine (my first French lesson) I would be a professor of French at the Sorbonne by now! Joking apart, it was great!”
Sarah Dubrey, Teddington

An informal, friendly and open atmosphere

We seek to create an informal, friendly and open atmosphere for the children – visitors or prospective parents often remark on the friendly spirit of collaboration between our pupils and teachers.

With Form Seven, this openness and friendship continues into the evening. Each week, you are invited to a buffet supper before your class where you can meet students on other courses and make new friends. Half-way through this coming term there will be a salon evening where, with the help of your tutor, you are invited to share some work in progress and celebrate everyone's new discoveries.

The Georgian house and grounds at Hampton Court House are a stunning backdrop; learning is even more enjoyable in such beautiful surroundings.

Bringing the whole community together

We believe strongly that independent schools have a duty to give back to their local community. Form Seven is our unique way of doing this that, we hope, makes a direct impact on people in Molesey and beyond. Guy Holloway, the Headmaster of Hampton Court House, explains: “We seek to cultivate a lifelong love of learning. Form Seven enables us to make that aim a reality, and has put Hampton Court House at the heart of local life as a place of cultural and intellectual growth.”
We invite our own staff to attend the courses. It is very important for teachers to maintain a mindset of growth and discovery. Studying something new gives teachers a greater empathy for the challenges and excitement for learning felt by children in their classroom.

We also invite staff from Reach Academy, a local state school with whom we have a partnership, to join our classes, be inspired and share their renewed love of learning with children and families in Feltham.

This direct impact on people's lives has been recognised with Form Seven's shortlisting for the national TES Independent School Awards in the "community initiative of the year" category. We find out in February if we have won – fingers crossed!

Join us

You can reserve your place here for a taster session on Thursday 11 January here. I can't wait to welcome you to Hampton Court House, and to help you make 2018 a memorable year you look back on with joy as the year you learned something new.

Our independent-state school partnership with Reach Academy Feltham

Our partnership with Reach Academy Feltham, that enables teachers from both schools to connect and learn from each other, has been recognised on the national stage by the education magazine TES:

TES Awards shortlist revealed

Our community outreach has earned a nomination for "community initiative of the year" in the prestigious TES Independent Schools Awards and has also attracted the attention of specialist education newspaper Schools Week .

Adam D’Souza, the director of Form Seven at Hampton Court House, has facilitated the partnership. He explains:

“There are so many opportunities to improve our teaching by sharing ideas with fellow teachers. I have learned techniques while visiting Reach Academy that I have brought back to my own classroom, and I hope that Reach’s teachers always discover something new every time they visit Hampton Court House.”

Teachers from Reach Academy are invited to learn new skills alongside colleagues from Hampton Court House by participating in our Form Seven programme, taking weekly evening classes in French, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, fine art, sewing and ballet.

Jo Wells, a PE teacher at Reach Academy, said:

“On Thursdays, I am often feeling ready for the weekend after a hectic week’s teaching. Often I would rather go home for an early night but I always stir my stumps for ballet and am always pleased that I did. It is a warm, relaxing environment where we challenge ourselves to try something new under the ever-encouraging eye of our tutor, Lauren. Without doubt, one of the highlights of my week!”

Ed Vainker is principal of Reach Academy, and also a governor of Hampton Court House. He added:

“Seeing our staff buzzing with what they have learnt the night before is terrific. They are energised and having fun while at the same time learning and re-connecting with the experience of being a pupil, which I know is improving their teaching. We are grateful to the team at Hampton Court House for their generosity and look forward to further collaboration in the future.”

Guy Holloway, the headmaster of Hampton Court House, notes:

“All of us at Hampton Court House are proud of our continuing partnership with inspirational Reach Academy. Our Form Seven evening classes provide an additional platform for our respective teachers to further their knowledge and indeed to socialise and share excellent practice.”