West Side Story

Let’s face it, West Side Story is the greatest musical of all time but  the children of Windlesham were not allowed to be daunted by that, with the result that they managed to capture so much of the energy, the sense of conflict, the crucial dynamics of the ensemble moments and raw emotional sincerity of the piece.

The production was aided by the stark symmetry of the design, which created a frame for some superbly choreographed group scenes and also an environment for solo moments of remarkable stillness – one thinks, for example, of Toby Hollis’ Chico isolated on the rostra as the tension builds; coming at the end of a wonderfully fluid sequence of little character moments (set to the beautiful voices of Heather Burrows, Lily-Martin Jenkins,  Amber Langmead and Ella Evans) his appearance was fantastically powerful.

The group songs were a great achievement. It was thrilling to see so many children performing with such a specific sense of character, focus and timing.

Equally great were some of the individual character moments. The interpretation of Maria was spot-on; she was adorable but tragically vain, and  both Bella Molinaro and Alice Kramer captured this beautifully. Bella had a superbly natural quality to her reactions while Alice was technically dazzling in her very precisely rehearsed expressions and superbly pitched moments of both speech and song. Rebecca Barden and Saskia Ziv Guest were both superb Anitas, feisty and fiery but also vulnerable, especially in that intensely disturbing scene with the boys in the drugstore, which was brilliantly judged and effectively stylised, bringing a real sense of shocked silence to the audience.

All the male characters were brilliantly detailed. Watching the development of Doc was particularly poignant, as it moved from a superbly forceful young Alec Hine to a fantastically rooted Jude Neame. Robbie Owen, Alex Hicks, Beau Scrase Dickins, George Augustin, Callum Wilcox and Ed Pollard all stood out. And as for Oscar Hill as Tony, many of us would have been sitting with our hearts in our throats as he hit those soaring emotional notes.

There will have been many proud parents in that audience and our thanks must particularly be extended to Fiona Jenkins and Anthony Hutchings for giving them the opportunity to see something very special in their children.


Hockey Girls Give It Some Stick!

Right from the start of this match, Windlesham’s squad of under 11  girls put Prebendal under immediate pressure, as they moved the ball quickly and decisively forwards into the visitors’ D.

Prebendal had no answer to Windlesham’s energy, stick skills and ball control, finding it very difficult to stop their hosts from scoring almost at will. The first half was very much one-way traffic and although the ‘home’ umpire tried to be ‘strict’ on Windlesham, the goals just kept coming!

Half-time was chance for the team to be re-organised, to allow the girls to play in different positions. Mr F encouraged the team to ‘play’ hockey, keep possession and move the ball out wide. The other challenge was to retain the ball for 10 consecutive passes without Prebendal touching it; this worked for a while and the girls put together a string of seven passes together – so Mr Fs money was safe – just! However, ‘white-line fever’ crept back in and another flurry of goals ensued. And sadly, this left our ‘keeper, Farrah, with not much to do all match!

Prebendal must be congratulated for not getting dis-spirited and trying their best throughout, however, Windlesham’s combination of technique and athleticism were just too much for our plucky visitors.

U11 Girls’ Hockey v Prebendal (H) – WON

Well done to the whole team and thank you to the parental support on the touchlines, which were bathed in sunshine for a change!

Chris Fletcher

I am writing this early in the morning and for once this month, the sun is shining or rather it is not raining!  Despite the weather’s best attempts to dampen our spirits we have enjoyed a very happy and productive start to the new calendar year.  We were delighted to welcome all the children back after the Christmas holidays and the school really is in full swing again. 

I have had one of those weeks when one is made to feel very pleased and proud about Windlesham. We had a large number of prospective children completing their overnight stays and they all seemed to have had a really happy time.  As always, there was a lovely air of excitement as parents gather to collect their children on Saturday at 12pm.  For many it was their first reunion since the start of term.  Nevertheless, we still had over 100 children who stayed in and enjoyed a weekend of bowling, arts and crafts and the dance competition.

On Saturday afternoon, no less than 20 schools arrived for our annual netball tournament.  Much to everyone’s relief it was not raining so play went ahead.  There was a sea of young children playing their hearts out and a very big crowd braving the cold wind.  The standard of play was very impressive and most matches were extremely close.  Much to our delight, the Windlesham U11A team were triumphant, beating Dorset House in a nail-biting final.  A very strong team from Durrington won the U13 tournament.

We are so lucky with our amazing games facilities, most schools have had to cancel their rugby matches because of waterlogged pitches:  Not us, we have been able to have games every day. 

I am most excited about our job advertisements which have just gone onto our website and online with the Times Educational Supplement.  It is that time of year when interviewing is the name of the game, including practice with potential scholars as the scholarship season begins in earnest.  Many of our young people will be sitting their exams over the coming weeks and we wish them all the very best.  However, bragging rights for the first name on the board goes to Francesca Hsu with a Sports award to Malvern College and Myles Dismont Robinson who has also been awarded the Daley Thompson Sports Scholarship to Brighton College.

U11A Netball Team triumph at the Windlesham Tournament

Team: Valentina Milne, Saskia Norman, Serena Blake, Niamh Healy, Tess Clarke, Grace Murray, Jemima Attwood, Willow Burrows

The girls played some excellent netball this afternoon to convincingly win their section. They scored a total of 42 goals and only conceded 3 during the first round matches. Although nervous to start with they used this to positive effect quickly taking charge to win their first game 14-0. Throughout the afternoon the girls played a well- structured and tactical game impressing all who watched. Both Valentina and Saskia were on form with their shooting working well for one another in the circle. Willow and Jemima in the defending circle were hardly troubled in the earlier stages of the tournament but both came into their own as it progressed.

The centre court players, Niamh, Grace, Tess and Serena were all outstanding passing swiftly and moving with clear cut precision and well -timed dodges. There was great excitement to reach the final only to meet Dorset House who had in fact given them a bit of a scare in the first round match however they stuck to their game plan and out played the opposition with numerous shots at goal although nerves were more in control as many opportunities were missed, so the defending skills of the entire team certainly came into operation, showing what versatile players this team is made up of! A total of 66 goals were scored and only 7 conceded throughout the afternoon. Well done a fantastic afternoon and result, it was last won by Windlesham 10 years ago.

Results: Winners of section- Ryde 14-0, Towers 12-0, BHHS 9-0, Dorset House 7-3 Quarter-final v Farlington won 8-0, Semi-final v Stroud won 12-3, Final v Dorset House won 4-1

Happy New Year from Memory Lane

It was a joy to receive such an amazingly enthusiastic response to the ‘school in snow’ photo that accompanied my last Blog. We have fortunately been spared anything like that (Jan 2010) so far this winter, but it seems to have scarcely stopped raining for weeks. Imagine, therefore, the frustration of those on site when there was a major break in the water supply mid-holiday!

The term had ended very happily with a large number of former staff and pupils attending the Carol Services. This enabled colleagues to catch up on news and a particular delight was that it also meant we were able to have supper afterwards with Philip and Christine Lough, as well as Leonard and Ruth Robinson. They are all very content in their ‘new’ retirement, as it gives them the scope to spend so much more time with their families.

Marvellously, a few days later we had a chance encounter with Louise Benzimra, whom we met as we shopped in our local Waitrose. She is now working with social services, but is also taking the opportunity to train as a psychotherapist. Equally thrilling was seeing Hattie Garlick featuring on the front page of the Sunday Times News Review on December 15th, and reading an article entitled  ‘A year without baubles’ about her efforts to steer clear of all the consumer pressure that is so much a part of bringing up children these days.

Serendipity (my favourite word) struck again when Alice Rickard saw one of Alice Colling’s photographs in a Marie Curie Carol Concert programme, with the original striking photo forming part of the raffle! And in other news it was a joy to hear that Pierro Niel-Mee has joined the RSC in Stratford, where he is currently appearing at the Swan Theatre and receiving very good reviews for his role in ‘Wolf Hall.’

We were swamped as usual during these holidays by a vast amount of Christmas greetings and news, which I really must get down to editing for the next edition of the Blog, but I’m already a little behind schedule with this one! On the announcements front I really must firstly clarify – as it was asked about – that Olivia Mitchell’s fiancé Benedict, spoken of last time, is indeed the older brother of Araminta Clibborn.

In addition Tristan Harrison has announced his engagement to Jennifer Bawden of Ruislip Manor, Middlesex and Candida Langdon has announced her engagement to Andrew Pollen of Bramshott Chase, Hampshire. A momentous wedding in Windlesham terms saw Paul Heigl marry Emily Benson on December 7th, the fifth such marriage known between alumni.

Following the example of his brother Matti, James Wicken and his wife Suman have had a daughter, Zara May, born on November 26th, a sister for Joshua. It was also lovely to hear that Charlotte (nee Wright) and her husband Russ Ege have their first child, a daughter Hannah Ariella in Rockville, Maryland weighing 7lbs 1oz, born (to the delight of mathematicians everywhere) on 11/12/13!

It really has been the season for girls, as Fletcher Blakemore and his wife Sophie now have a daughter, Alice Jennifer, weighing 6lbs 7ozs born at 11.37pm on December 28th, Mike Rozwadowski and his wfe Clare also have a daughter, Amelia born on January 4th, and to complete the set Simon and Lucy Hallam now have a daughter, Poppy Isabella Rose, born on January 12th weighing 8lbs 6ozs, a sister for James.

On a sadder note, I must report that former maths teacher and, above all, photographer Hal Randall died peacefully at the age of 95 on December 16th. His funeral at St Mary’s Storrington on January 2nd was attended by six Windlesham staff, Peter and Alma Cronin, Antony Walker and Ena Whitehouse, as well as Rachel and me. He will be remembered very fondly by so many and what a rich legacy he provided for the archives over the years with his many albums of photos covering the 70s and early 80s. We are holding his wife Rhona and all the family in our prayers. Likewise, following the death at the age of 72 of Terry Biddlecombe, we are thinking of his family, especially Laura and Libba and their mother Brigid.

Somewhat belatedly we saw the film ‘The Impossible’ the other day and, wow, did it bring back memories of alumni involvement in the tragic tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. The harrowing accounts of those events told by the Walker-Smith family, by Tracey LI (nee Menzies) and by the Gordon family are etched in my mind. It was good that we at Windlesham were able, therefore, to provide some very targeted assistance in the aftermath of that disaster.

Memories were also the order of the day when I spoke for the first time since the 80s with former history teacher, Nick Leonard. We had a real trip down Memory Lane, as he retains a very clear and immensely positive recall of so many of his pupils and colleagues from that era. He was delighted to catch up with the news on all those faces still etched in his mind – I won’t embarrass anyone by mentioning names, but to have that conversation was a great delight and he sends warm greetings to all who remember him. And from everyone at Windlesham, Happy New Year greetings to one and all.

First Scholarship of the year

Fantastic news – Francesca Hsu has been awarded the first scholarship of the academic year with a Sports Scholarship to Malvern.  We are all immensely proud of her and all the hard work she has put in.  With a potential 58 scholarships in the pipeline – expectation is high.  Come on Ones scholars – you can acheive it.

Thirds Triumph In Thriller!

What a match to kick-start the 2014 rugby season off with, in a game that ebbed and flowed as both third team squads battled toe-to-toe and end-to-end, leaving the supporting onlookers applauding in admiration for this thrilling encounter!

3rd XII Rugby v Bede’s 3rd XII (H)

WON 38 – 33 Tries: A Onyia x 3, P Huo, D Mukoyi, T Gaherty

Conversions: J Holmwood x 4

Windlesham were on the back-foot early on, as a lack of urgency and responsibility to team discipline allowed their strapping centre to break a number of tackles and score under the posts. Skipper, Chris Albertyn had a ‘quiet word’ with the group as they watched the conversion sail over the bar and from the re-start Windlesham’s body language looked more like they meant business. The Bede’s front five packed quite a few more pounds than their hosts and the early scrums were tough going for Windlesham – especially playing up the slope. However, Grant and Montojo held firm at prop and Gaherty began to show some clever hooking skills, with Huo and Onyia battling hard in the second row. Bede’s launched numerous attacks on Windlesham and thanks to some desperate on-the-line defensive work; the visitors were kept at bay. Despite turning defence into attack on several occasions, Windlesham were prone to run ‘sideways’ with the ball and lost it at the breakdown through a lack of ‘oomph’ at the rucks! Mukoyi, Mangharam, Goodsell and Frost all showed good turns of speed with the ball in hand, but were often guilty of not off-loading when going into trouble and the attack broke down. A defensive error by Bede’s in their 22 was snapped up by Albertyn who threaded it to Law, who was then driven on by his pack, as Grant then popped the ball out to Onyia, who swerved and dived between two players to score out wide. The conversion by Holmwood had the legs, but shaved the outside of the far upright. Another wave of attacks by Bede’s found Windlesham ‘out-of-shape’ and a gap opened up for a simple try to be leaked, with the conversion making it 14-5 in their favour. Windlesham rallied and their determination was rewarded as some great hand-to-hand combat up the left flank saw Huo pop up on the outside to run powerfully over the line in the corner. Holmwood’s conversion was again just off target, but Windlesham went into half-time, just 10-14 down.

The second half was a feast of great schoolboy rugby, as both teams recognised that there was nothing between them in terms of skill or endeavour and that the game would go right to the wire! Mr Stephens was on hand in his first match as a Windlesham teacher and he managed the rolling subs really well, bringing on Wilken and let his fresh legs give a bit of impetus to Windlesham’s moves. Onyia grew in confidence as the match progressed and bustled over twice more to complete a hat-trick of tries, both converted by Holmwood. Bede’s responded with two converted tries of their own to lead 28-24. Mukoyi had been instrumental in many of Windlesham’s attacking breaks and from a well-timed pass from Albertyn at a penalty in their 22, he dodged and weaved his way over the line for a fine try, which Holmwood converted and for Windlesham to lead 31-28. Bede’s ploughed their way up-field and from one of their trademark driving mauls, their burly centre, ripped the ball and spun his way over the line; their fly-half missed the conversion, so Bede’s now led 33-31 with four minutes to go! The action was now intense and Windlesham slowly but surely used the downhill slope and the now tiring legs of Bede’s to edge closer to the try-line. A well-disciplined ruck saw Windlesham a metre from the line, but the ball popped loose and a Bede’s forward picked up the ball. From nowhere, Gaherty appeared and ripped the ball from his grasp and dived over a sea of bodies onto the only bit of grass available for a great opportunist try, which Holmwood duly converted to put Windlesham in front at 37-33.

Play continued at a furious pace as Bede’s tried their best to gain territory up field, but from a scrum following a knock-on by Bede’s, Albertyn swung the ball to Law who booted into touch to end the game, followed by a huge cheer from his team-mates!

The teams congratulated each other warmly; as they’d both given their all in a what was a really enjoyable afternoon of sport at its best. Thanks to all the parents for their support and to Mr Stephens for his encouragement and coaching from the touch-line.


Chris Fletcher

Scott Shuttle To Success!

Scott House has soared into 2014 with triumphs in both the senior and junior Inter House Badminton over the first all-in weekend of the Spring Term.

This year’s competition saw each House put out two teams of mixed pairs, who played in a round-robin. The points earned by both pairings were then added jointly to decide who would be crowned winners for 2014.

The children managed their own matches and the spirit, as well as the way in which everyone co-operated to sort out ‘tight calls’ was great to see. There was some fine badminton played across all Houses, with plenty of oohing, aahing, grunting and whooping to show just how much this game is enjoyed!







2nd   =


2nd   =







Hunt propped up the final placings, Bader took fifth slot and Drake came fourth. Grenfell and Raleigh were joint second, whilst Scott were crowned champions, thanks to both pairings playing so consistently throughout the afternoon’s competition.













5th   =


5th   =

The youngsters in Scott continued as their senior House-mates left off, as they cruised to victory! Bader were second, closely followed by Hunt in third place and Grenfell in fourth. Drake and Raleigh finished joint fifth.

Thank you to all those who came to support and well played Scott!

Chris Fletcher

Happy New Year to you all.

I hope everyone has enjoyed the festive season.  It has been incredibly wet at Windlesham and we have certainly had a few very windy days and nights.  Miraculously, the weather was near perfect for my sons’ Ryder Cup tournament here, on the Windlesham golf course, straight after Christmas.  This was the third event of its kind, and much fun was had by all twenty young golfers.  Although I cannot put myself in that category, I did play in our youngest son Sam’s team.  Unfortunately we came up short, and Patrick’s team, largely made of Durham University friends, gained the bragging rights!

As we busily prepare for the start of another new term, I can honestly say that 2014 holds much excitement in my eyes.  Such is the demand for places in our Threes (Year 6), I have, over the Christmas period decided to create an extra form in this year group as from this Summer term. As a result, I will be taking on a history set – something which I will thoroughly enjoy and overall, class sizes will be slightly smaller.

We have 17 new children joining the school this week which is marvellous, especially as half of them are starting at the lower end of the Prep School.  It is not unusual at Windlesham to have a few new children joining in January, but this is a really healthy number.

As always, we have a very full calendar of events and I am very mindful of the many children we have put forward for scholarships.  I know I am in for a lot of interview practice with them all!

I look forward to catching up with many parents over the next few days and let’s hope the weather improves as we have plenty of matches this weekend!

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