Is that the sun?

Here we are well into the second half of term – it did seem a very short first half! – and so it must be time for another Blog! We had some very particular excitement just before the break, with Michael Wright visiting the school for two weeks. He is considering a career move into teaching and was with us to gain some experience upon which he could base a decision. You can read about all that he did in an article he wrote for the Daily Telegraph Weekend supplement last week.

The last few weeks have seen a couple of deaths of great supporters of the school, John Hunt, former head of Roedean, father of Jonathan and Richard, who died on January 16th, and Mardie Delmar-Morgan, mother of Ben, Kate and Sandie, who died on January 19th. We are thinking of the two families very much.

However, there have also been several happy announcements, including the engagement of James Clark to Nargiz Umayeva on January 31st and of Fiona Hanlon to James Treble on February 2nd. Alan Pownall and Gabriella Anstruther-Gough-Calthorpe now have a son, Sasha Blue, born on February 3rd and Lizzie (nee Calder) and Patrick Clifton have a daughter, Beatrice Hannah, born on February 12th, a sister for two big brothers. James and Charlotte Butterfill now have a second son, Harry Peter George, a brother for Frederick William Ralph.

Rebecca Nielsen is rightly thrilled to have won a scholarship for September to Hurtwood House. Staying on the performing arts front, Cecily Houghton King recently had a RADA audition in the course of which she was compared to Miranda Hart, meant as a compliment, she believes!

On Sunday March 2nd not only did Georgia Harding have some of her designs feature in the Sunday Times Style Magazine, but also former parent, Sir Rod Lyne, was to be heard on Radio 4 talking about the Ukraine issue. In this vein it is worth noting that Simon Owen is now Military Assistant to the Chief of Staff at the Rapid Reaction Corps, the NATO response force.

It has been difficult to ignore the impact of the weather on all the school’s various endeavours this term and in the wider world it was sad to see that Tom Chisman had his Milford-on-Sea beach hut destroyed when that part of the coastline was struck so severely recently. However, very fortunately the last few days have seen a dramatic improvement and for our annual Rugby Sevens tournament yesterday the South Downs was blessed by beautiful sunshine, enabling the grounds that Geghair Booloozian continues to maintain to such an exceptionally high standard to look at their very best. The sevens side itself played out of their skins to win the 3rd/4th place play-off.

Finally in our thoughts right now are all the Bouwens family, Carel, Caroline, George and Lizzie, who have just set out for Kilimanjaro, which they will be climbing for the Lucy Sands Tribute Fund in aid of the Cancer Vaccine Institute, in memory of George’s fiancée who died so sadly in 2011. We wish them well as they face this far from straightforward challenge.

We have enjoyed a truly memorable ‘All In’ weekend. More scholarships success at the end of last week was celebrated in style with our ‘Windlesham’ s Got Talent’ show on Saturday night. The theatre was packed to the rafters and the spirit of Windlesham was much in evidence as one brilliant act followed another. Never have we had so much variety nor seen such a spread of ages. The quality of the performance left many of us adults gasping! Even my usual role of being MC was taken over by a couple of the Ones.

Sunday was also full of surprises as several Seniors were well out of their comfort zone speaking in our Senior inter-house public speaking competition. The content of the speeches was impressive and in several cases the delivery was incredible. I often pinch myself at Windlesham because one needs reminding that these are children, not even teenagers in most cases! One could say at times adults in children’s bodies such is their confidence and skill levels.

And so to the week ahead… I write this blog with the sun blazing through my window early in the morning – it must be the Windlesham Rugby Sevens; we’ve never been let down by the weather for this event. Our pitches look magnificent and it’s a great sight when there is a sea of boys in there coloured rugby shirts busting their guts to win this prestigious tournament. We might be in with a good chance this year, who knows, sports is always unpredictable.

I have a load more interviews to conduct in the days ahead. It really will be good news to have an Estates Bursar in place soon as there is so much too organise and monitor on this site and this beautiful main building needs a lot of TLC. These are exciting times for Windlesham.

Author Michael Wright on ‘Returning to Windlesham’

Read the article in the ‘Weekend’ supplement of the Daily Telegraph about alumnus Michael Wright returning to Windlesham to explore the possibility of becoming a teacher.

It is a couple of weeks since I last wrote something for my blog for which I apologise, but a lot has happened!  Inevitably, there was a good deal of catching up to do following the ISI Boarding Inspection, and then there was the busy build up to half term.

Our Scholarship tally is now up to 11 which is very pleasing and there could well be a few more in the pipeline over the next couple of weeks.  We have now officially launched our own scholarship scheme for September 2014.  This will be for Year 6 and the prospect of recruiting some really talented additional pupils into our Threes is very exciting.  At the same time, I am also convinced that the bar will be raised even further, by virtue of recognising any outstanding potential in our current ranks.

It is always very gratifying to get positive publicity and when it comes out in the national press , so much the better.  In the knowledge that Michael Wright’s article was likely to feature in Saturday’s Weekend section of The Telegraph, I was out early doors to the newsagents. To see a photograph of Windlesham on the front page of a broadsheet newspaper does of course cause a flutter or rather a deep breath.  I personally think Michael’s article reads very well and I was left with an enormous sense of pride. To be described as a ‘magical place’ is praise indeed and to all of us associated with Windlesham, this means a great deal.

Half term always seems to come at the right time and I just hope everyone, staff and children alike, will return refreshed and eager for the second half of term.  I will be somewhat pre-occupied with holding interviews for new staff as we have many important appointments to make for September, which again is exciting.

Scholarships and Awards so far…

Poppy de Salis – Music Scholarship to Stowe

Oscar Hill – All Rounder Scholarship to Stowe

Edward Pollard – Sport Scholarship to Milton Abbey

Avery Smith – Music Scholarship to Oundle

Rebeca Barden – All Rounder Award to St Edward’s, Oxford

Toby Hollis – Drama Exhibition to Malvern

Francesca Hsu – Sports Award to Malvern

Cecilia Noble – Music Exhibition to Wellington

Tom Law – Music Exhibition to Eton

Alex Johnston – Academic Exhbition to St Peter’s, York


Scholarships available for Year 6

At Windlesham, we believe that excellence should be recognised and scholarships are awarded to children who show outstanding potential academically or in Art, DT, Drama, Sport, Music, ICT or as an all rounder.

Scholarships are held each Spring Term and are available to external and internal candidates for entry into Year 6. Applicants should contact Kate Goodwin, Director of Studies for an application form. E: or 01903 874041. Application forms must be returned by Friday 14th March.

Up to 12 scholarships will be awarded to a maximum of 10% of fees.

Windlesham offers a tailored programme of provision and support for scholars to enhance, develop and inspire their particular area of talent.

Scholarships awarded to successful candidates will commence in the Autumn Term following the Spring Term assessments.


Those pupils entering for academic scholarship will be assessed in verbal reasoning, non-verbal reasoning, Maths and English. The tests are designed to focus on potential rather than on current achievement. They will not be based on any specific curriculum but will be age appropriate. There will be no specific preparation necessary as the tests are designed to assess underlying intellectual capacity rather than learned responses.

A successful candidate will show a high level of ability across all areas tested including the interviews. We will expect each academic Scholar to maintain a consistently high level of effort and attainment in all subjects. They will also be expected to participate enthusiastically in the extra-curricular academic life of the school such as debates, general knowledge quizzes, teams and national competitions.


Candidates must show good academic potential and will be assessed in non verbal reasoning and English.  They must show well above average talent in at least two areas and will have to choose to be formally assessed in two of these areas.  Each assessment will last c. 30 minutes.  Please indicate which two areas are chosen when submitting the application.  Candidates should read the details below for the respective department.  The interview process will be an important part of the overall assessment and the successful candidates will be expected to be excellent role models.


Candidates will be expected to produce a still life drawing from observation using pencil.  The drawing exercise will run for 45 minutes. They will then be interviewed and during this session they must show evidence of their enjoyment of art by showing some of their work that they are proud of.  They should also be able to tell us about their favorite artist and any galleries they have visited recently.

The still life drawings will be graded (see guidelines below) and a final decision will be made by the art and design team, based on the candidate’s ability and passion for this subject.

A* This drawing will show excellent attention to detail.  The layout and proportions will be accurate and carefully planned.  The tone will be varied and powerful and this drawing will also show extremely well observed texture.  It will stand out as a quality piece of work and it will be outstanding in all respects.

A  This will be a strong drawing that will be well observed.  It will show a very good understanding of tone.  It will not be quite as bold as the A* standard but it will be an accurate piece of work.  It will also show textured areas and shadows and will stand out as a very good piece of work.

B  This will be a very good sound drawing.  It will show a good understanding of shape, form, tone and texture but there may be some areas that will need developing.  For example the tone and textured areas may look like they need working into. 

A good drawing with a few inaccuracies.  Tonal qualities will be evident but may not have been worked into.  Evidence of texture will be in this drawing but it may look slightly unfinished.

D  This level will show quite a few awkward areas that will not be accurate.  It will show weaknesses mainly in its lack of tone, proportion, texture etc.  It will not have been well observed.

Art scholars will be expected to attend all art activities including  the Arts and Crafts weekends.  They must show commitment to art beyond their lessons, in order to build up their folder of work for future art scholarships.

Computing and ICT

Candidates will be expected to answer a short general ICT knowledge multiple choice test.  They would then receive a short training session on Scratch and a guided game building exercise.  Each candidate would be expected to complete a touch typing speed and accuracy test.  There will be an interview to ascertain particular area of interest and knowledge. A suitable candidate would be expected to show a good working knowledge of the applications, word, excel and PowerPoint, have a minimum of 25 words per minute touch typing and to show knowledge in one of the following areas:

 -          video editing

-          programming

-          Photo Editing/Graphic Design

A sensible attitude to the wider concerns of computer and internet safety would be assessed at interview and a successful candidate would need to maintain a high profile in the world of ICT at Windlesham and be a role model at all times.


What it takes to be a Design Technology Scholar?

As well as evidence of a natural flair/eye for design and exceptional practical skills,  they should have a desire to work in at least two or more of the areas of Design Technology. This should include Resistant  Materials,  Electronics, Graphics, Textiles and Food Technology. A scholar should also show strength of character and perseverance to be able to see a project through from start to finish. It is also expected that a successful scholar will go on to represent the department in a positive light by completing extra projects using their free time.  They will become involved in the wide ranging activities and develop both a breadth and depth to their studies.  We would expect that their interests will reach beyond lessons and that they will look to extend their abilities, being receptive to all that is on offer to our pupils here, whilst also looking to assist and develop those around them and give back to the department.  

What will happen on assessment day?

All candidates are invited to bring an existing product which they are interested in or a piece of work they have made themselves (it may be a model, Lego etc.) This will be evaluated and also form part of their interview.  They are also encouraged to bring any evidence of their own drawing as this is a very important part of Design Technology.  All candidates will sit a practical task which will take around 40mins.  They will then be interviewed by members of the department.  The interview will aim to assess their understanding of and passion for Design Technology, whilst also discussing the results of their practical task and their selected item from home.  All elements of the assessment will be graded in line with our whole school scholarship assessment structure.


Candidates will be asked to recite one monologue of 1-2 mins in length to show clear characterisation and an understanding of the context.  Candidates will be asked to respond to a given improvisation.  They should be able to discuss a theatre production in which they have performed and also one that they have seen with intelligence and enthusiasm.

Optional: some photographic/video or other evidence of theatrical experience or grades attained.


A potential music scholar will have a keen interest in music of all styles and be able to show that they are involved in all aspects of musical performance at school. They will be able to perform and/or sing at a high level (appropriate to their age) on at least two instruments (or voice), one of which should be the piano.  Potentially it could have a detrimental impact on their application to a senior school if they do not have the prerequisite keyboard skills.

They will have a good sense of pitch, be able to sing in tune and would be expected to be in one or more of the school choirs.

Being a music scholar is also a state of mind. Above all, a music scholar should add value to the Music Department and also to the musical life of the school. They will be keen to perform, show a great curiosity for learning about all aspects of music (including theory!). They would be expected to attend (amongst other things…) : aural classes, theory classes, supervised practice sessions and join one or more of the choirs.


Candidates will be expected to demonstrate a level of skill that is exceptional to someone of this age level.  Whilst hoping his or her natural ability extends to several sports, the practical assessment will be based on their performance in one sport.  We are looking for candidates who demonstrate attributes that make them stand out in ability, attitude and commitment. The practical assessment will run for 30 minutes. The interview process will be an important part of the overall assessment.  Candidates should produce a record of their achievements to date and attach this to their application form.  Portfolios are not necessary.


Another two Scholarships to Oundle and St. Edward’s

Congratulations to

Rebeca Barden for her All Rounder Scholarship to St. Edward’s, Oxford

Avery Smith for his Music Scholarship to Oundle

It continues to rain on a daily basis and for the first time in my tenure at Windlesham we had to cancel our hockey fixtures this week for fear that our pitches would not be playable.  I know we have suffered far less than other parts of the country but it really is time we had a dry spell!

 We said goodbye to the ISI Boarding Inspectors yesterday.  I like to think their visit went as well as it possibly could.  We now await the official report which we can expect just before the end of term. I was very proud of the way all the staff had prepared for the inspection and the calm and professional way they conducted themselves throughout the inspectors’ visit.  The children behaved impeccably and have been a great credit to the school.

 We have enjoyed a good deal of scholarship success to date – giving children such exciting news is always one of the best moments in a Prep School Head’s life.  Let’s hope we continue on a roll.  Talking of scholarships, I am in the process of finalising our own scholarship scheme which we are going to introduce into our Threes (Year 6).  Watch this space…!

Scholarships and Exhibitions to Eton, Stowe, Wellington and more

Congratulations to all the children who have been awarded scholarships and exhibitions so far this year

Francesca Hsu was the first Scholar with a Sports Scholarship to Malvern

Poppy de Salis was awarded the top Music Scholarship for piano, voice, organ and violin to Stowe

Toby Hollis has been awarded a Drama Exhibition to Malvern

Alex Johnston has been given an Honorary Academic Exhibition to St. Peters, York

Tom Law has been awarded a Music Exhibition to Eton College

Cecilia Noble has been awarded a Music Exhibition to Wellington College

There are many more in the pipeline.

Sir! There is a girl in the boys’ wing!

Before I write on our extensively thriving boarding houses, I need to apologise for not writing sooner!  We are always busy and WHS is known as a busy and thriving school so it goes without saying that sitting down and writing ones’ thoughts down is nearly impossible.  However I hope you will be pleased to know that in the boarding houses we have the youngest ‘boarders’ possibly in the country (formally known as the Heads’ of boarding babies)!  Not only do we have Alfie Nuttall who is 18 weeks in the girls’ boarding house, but now finally waiting for what felt like an entire year being pregnant, we have on the boys’ side baby Poppy Hallam born  on the 12th January 2014, weighing 8lb 6oz.  Poppy is causing quite a stir that there is now a ‘girl in the boys’ wing!’  Ooh err!  The boys are in awe of Poppy.  I also find using Poppy as a ‘tool’ to enter into a dorm at lights out gets the boys quiet and ready for sleep as they whisper and coo over her!  Brilliant!

Before Poppy came along, we were busy organising Christmas.  Christmas is always a fantastic time in any school wherever in the world you are.  However, I feel that having the intimacy of a boarding house and plenty of children to celebrate with, there is ample opportunity to indulge one’s inner child.  There is no better way than doing this than by having the ultimate ‘Boarders Christmas Party’ hosted by the Boarding Team in the MFT.

With the dress code being ‘Christmas Novelty’, we saw the most funniest and outrageous costumes ranging from crazy and classic Christmas jumpers to turkey hats and oversized Christmas ear-rings and head wear.  The children sat down to decorated tables with helium balloons, glitter and a feast fit for ‘eyes bigger than your belly’. 

Having all the boarders together is a chance to celebrate them and their achievements within dorms.  Simon Hallam and Polly Nuttall did short speeches and handed out certificates to boarders who have had no crosses over the course of the autumn term.  Then followed the highly entertaining entertainment first kicked off by the most gorgeous trio of Ones girls singing a medley of Christmas songs in perfect voice!  A jaw dropping moment for their talent and it didn’t stop there!  We had further singing and dancing and a certain group of Ones boys leaving us with sore stomach muscles for laughing so much at their very funny dance. 

Then came the highlight of the evening in the shape of Karaoke- or rather ‘secret karaoke’ where staff and children had signed up to be chosen to sing but they had no idea what they were to sing, and who with.  There was certainly an atmosphere of nervous delight as the names were read out.  The staff and children stepped up to the stage and sang their hearts out.  None other than Mr Foster was up there singing too!

Then finally stepped up the boarding team who were obliged to sing ‘Boarding Style’ again (a parody of Gangnam Style)!  This was a hit last year and we had to do it again!  The children joined in with the words displayed on the screen then they all proceeded to dance around the MFT in conga style!  It was an absolute hit and it was a moment where we recognised that our boarding community is very special!

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