What a final week we have had ! The highlight for the children will no doubt have been the staff entertainment which we put on for them. By making it a complete surprise the impact and excitement created was all the more special . Watching the children’s faces will live long in my memory - just as well I could not see their expressions when I took to the stage myself for our group dance ! Unlike my wonderful staff yours truly had missed most of the rehearsals so I was bound to stand out for the wrong reasons!

It was a fitting way to round off a very successful term and I would go as far as to say one of the best terms I can recall. Just before Final Assembly we heard that we had won a Major Academic Scholarship to Marlborough and in doing so  had equalled  our record number of scholarships  in any one year .  It is very exciting to think we can go a step further given there are still a few more candidates next term .

The ISI Boarding Inspection Report is now to hand so will be made available on our website very shortly . It makes for very pleasing reading and is richly deserved in my opinion . I am delighted the efforts of our very impressive Heads of Boarding and our wonderful team of matrons have been rewarded and we have been judged compliant in every single category .

I leave for our holiday in a great frame of mind knowing that I have very exciting news about staff appointments to announce at the start of next term .  For now I hope and trust everyone attached to Windlesham is able to draw breath and reflect on all that has been achieved since January . Let’s hope the rest of 2014 continues to be so fruitful .

 

Revue of the Term

No, not a case of poor spelling – this choice of title refers to the glorious event which has brought the term to a wonderful climax. Yes – for those who recall either of the first two similar happenings – the staff have once again found the courage to tread the boards, to the immense delight of their dear charges! The assembled multitudes who had gathered in the MFT for ‘the Headmaster’s Lecture’ witnessed instead several extraordinarily varied items performed by a differing selection of staff ensembles. These were presented live and in recorded format, the thread being provided by episodes of ‘Star Wars’ which indeed starred several members of staff in full George Lucas/Universal Studios mode! The children’s reaction rapidly moved through the whole gamut of emotions, from bewilderment to total joy as the staff revealed amazing talents heretofore modestly hidden away!

And so, on to other equally joyous events for the wider alumni family. Andrew Northern announced his engagement to Jessica Clauser on March 7th and ten days later, most appropriately on St Patrick’s Day, Ronan and Rachael Chilvers were delighted to welcome their first-born, a son, Kit. However. at the end of February there had been the arrival of another first-born, when Lousie Squires and her partner Ed Mills celebrated their move to Cornwall with the unexpectedly early birth of Jasmine Kate Elizabeth – would her great-grandma Bessie have commented, “There’s no such word as can’t”?!

At this time we are also thinking of dear Terry Barnes, who tended our school gardens so wonderfully for many years – his wife Mary died in Combe Martin, North Devon on March 8th. As many will recall, their Findon Valley home was ‘open house’ to all those who took part in his gardening activity. I know that some of you have kept in touch over subsequent years.

It has been good to hear recently from Charlie Clarke and Robert Arbuthnott, who, amidst the warm recollections of their time at Windlesham, send greetings to contemporaries. Indeed both have retained strong Windlesham friendships down the years. Another with vivid memories of his time at the school is former Raleigh housemaster, Michael Faunce-Brown, with whom we had lunch a week or two ago. He has returned from ten years in Queensland and is happily settling in to life in nearby Ferring and again putting down some West Sussex roots.

Another delightful meeting was a recent chance encounter a friend of mine had with Pierro Niel-Mee. I had spoken to her of his part in the current RSC productions at Stratford of ‘Wolf Hall’ and Bring up the Bodies’ and after seeing both ‘in one sitting’ as it were, she happened to meet Pierro after the show in the Dirty Duck. Pierro will be embarrassed I know, but my friend was ecstatic  and has spoken fulsomely about the wonderful part he plays and was hugely touched to have been made so welcome in that conversation with him. The two plays will be transferring to London soon.

It was very interesting to note that on the first day of the recent Cheltenham Festival there was a very special memorial race, the Terry Biddlecombe National Hunt Chase. Needless to say Laura and Libba were two very proud young ladies. Remaining in a kind of sporting vein, the talented Otto Pyper continues to play chess regularly for England, and was recently representing his country in Belgium.

It was wonderful to meet Toby Fenwick-Wilson, husband of dear Polly Renton, who was visiting Windlesham last week. He brought very upbeat news of all the Renton and Fergusson branches of the extended family. Likewise, Headmaster Richard Foster was pleased to meet up with alumni in both Hong Kong and Singapore when he was out in the Far East recently.

A couple of families have found themselves n the media spotlight in the past few days. Firstly Tom and James Malcolm-Green featured in the latest edition of ‘Sussex Life’ in an article about their ‘Wax and Tallow’ candle-making company. They have also been mentioned in the ‘Homes and Gardens Magazine.’

The other newspaper coverage has been of the Bouwens family, Carel, Caroline, George and Lizzie, who have now returned from their successful climb of Mt Kilimanjaro. Their efforts have generated a marvellous amount for the Cancer Vaccine Institute in memory of George’s fiancée Lucy. There is an article in their local Wiltshire press and Lizzie herself was featured in both The Times and the Daily Mail in items that made positive comment about the charitable use of her John Lewis bonus!

It is the time of year where good wishes need to be extended to up-coming marathon runners. On April 6th Georgie Frew will be taking part in the Brighton Marathon, while Nick Clinch will be across La Manche for the Paris Marathon. Those events are, of course, followed only a week later by the London Marathon. So far I have heard of the following being involved: in the ladies camp are Jessica Harber, Emily Bull, Martha Lambert, Georgina Richards and Imogen (Minnie) Griffiths. However, apart from Tom Malcolm-Green, where are the boys for this capital run?! I guess there must be others – it would be great to hear of them. In the meantime, we wish each of you every success as you face these challenges in the name of various worthy charities and a Happy Easter to one and all thereafter.

Lara Middlemiss wins ‘Canford School Classics Essay’ competition

The Canford School Classics Essay competition is now in its second year and was established to promote enthusiasm for the classical world in younger pupils and also to inspire them to achieve excellence in creative writing. This year’s competition attracted over one hundred and twenty entries from schools across the region and the standard was enormously high.

Asked to write either an essay on classical beasts or an original myth on the theme ‘Secrets of the Golden Garden’, pupils from Years 5 and 6 took the opportunity to show off their talent and knowledge. There were giant seahorses, horrifying minotaurs and colossal dragon-headed giants to contend with as well as some spellbinding storylines and stunning description.

‘The overall winner, Lara Middlemiss, had written a beautifully constructed myth that incorporated a whole range of different classical elements in an entirely unique and unexpected way, drawing on ideas from other cultures too. It was an absolute pleasure to read and we were delighted to be able to award her the prize in person at the presentation event on 21st March. ‘ Maurice Walters, Head of Classical Civilisation.

24/03/14

It is very good to be back at Windlesham after a week away in the Far East.  Rachel and I flew out to Hong Kong last week to meet a few prospective parents and then hosted a drinks reception for past and current parents.  Rachel returned to the UK at the weekend and I went on to Singapore, where I gave a generic presentation on the merits of independent boarding schools in the UK.  I was delighted by the turn-out and met a host of prospective parents.  I eagerly await more feedback and I know our visit was much appreciated and was certainly well worth the effort.  Sincere thanks must go to Simon Attwood and the SMT for holding the fort.

I am always very touched by the warm reception that I am given whenever I return from being away, and the children make you feel so pleased to be back.  The first thing I did was to congratulate those Ones whose scholarship success had been made known whilst we were away travelling.  We are now very close to a new record of awards and there are still more in the pipeline.

We’ve also had many successes on the sporting front.  The U13 girls won our very own Hockey 7s tournament, the U11 Netball team came 4th in the IAPS National Finals over the weekend at Roedean  and won the Lavant Netball tournament,  and the U12 Rugby 7s team won the Rydon 7s event.   My goodness we have some talented children which, of course, bodes well for the next couple of years.

My first day back was taken up with more interviews.  The appointment of Director of Development is very exciting and at last the Windlesham Foundation can really get off the ground. Watch this space for more announcements.

Windlesham looks at its glorious best after a week of sunshine.  There is a sea of daffodils at the front of the school and the trees are all bursting into blossom.  Spring is here at last!

U11A Netball Team Finish 4th at the National Finals

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

The girls excelled themselves today with determination, great team work and play they really rose to the challenge to prove what they do best……play brilliant netball. Their movement, timing and passing rarely saw them defeated in their attacking play. Likewise they all showed exceptional defending work from the moment possession was lost in order to regain it. Numerous turn overs from Grace at Wing Defence at the centre pass were made; Jemima grew in confidence at the sheer height she could jump to get a touch on the ball with Willow never giving her opponents a moment’s peace, what she might lack in height she certainly never gave up by hassling them!

The girls finished as runners up in their section only losing 1 of their 9 games. In the quarter finals, where they met Guildford High, they played almost their best netball to win convincingly to reach the semi-finals where unfortunately they once again met their nemesis, Milton Keynes, who to date were the only team to beat them. The girls gave their all but on this occasion they were out played by a better team so went on to play off for 3rd and 4th position. Having played nearly three hours of netball they were definitely running on empty losing to Twyford, however this was no mean feat finishing 4th in the country.

The day started with Niamh gallantly trying to fight off a high temperature but in the end she couldn’t continue so Issy ably stepped in to play centre and throughout she grew in confidence showing her true colours. Valentina, Serena and Saskia were strong in attack, once again coming through to heights they didn’t know they were capable of. Saskia showed more aggression in her play than ever before and her movement and timing were ever improving. Serena(10) and Valentina(11) take ones breathe away with their timing, movement and mature play making one pinch oneself that these girls are so young.

An excellent result well done, supporters were all exhausted so goodness knows how tired you girls were.

BR

 

Christ’s Hospital Maths Challenge

On Thursday 6th March, our Year 5 team consisting of Rupert Roberts-Canon, Yuzhe Lin, Natasha Johnson and Joshua Hatrick made the short journey across to Christ’s Hospital to participate in their inter school Maths Challenge.  There were 36 schools taking part in the event, with a number of very talented mathematicians present.

When we arrived at the school, we were lucky enough to watch the traditional Christ’s College ‘march’ into lunch.  It really was quite a spectacle and we certainly felt sorry for their pupils who were wearing heavy woollen jackets in such glorious weather.

We were then led over to the main hall and started the various mathematical challenges.  They lasted for nearly two hours and there was some very tough questions.   The Windlesham Team tried their hardest and grew in confidence as the event unfolded.  Our team finished a very creditable 12th out of 36 schools.  Finishing in the top third was a very admirable achievement.

Windlesham Girls Hockey 7s Tournament – Winners!

This was the girl’s last afternoon as a hockey team and they were determined to seek revenge on the Burgess Hill team that beat them in the semis of the Sussex Hockey Cup. Our first match of the afternoon was against Prebendal where we were rather slow to start although we managed to beat them 2-1. Our 2nd match was the grudge match against Burgess Hill, where Arabella managed to sneak a goal past their keeper and our defence held off their strong attack from scoring and we went on to win 1-0. Our 3rd match was against our B’s where we won 2-0, but it wasn’t an easy win at all, both teams fighting all the way. The next match was against a very skilful St Paul’s, but we managed to win 1-0. (Just!) We then drew 0-0 against a strong Farlington team, which could really have gone either way as the ball flew up and down the pitch. One of the matches I thought would be the toughest; proved our highest scoring venue which was against St Andrews when the girls played their best hockey of the afternoon and won 3-0. The last match was against Burgess Hill B’s and we had to either win or draw to win the tournament. We scored in the 1st half and held off a very strong team until the last minute when they equalised and we managed to win the tournament by 1 point!! Poor Jasmine was overcome by emotion as she realised the team had won. Well done girls, a super afternoon of hockey and a great end to the season. Scorers: Fran:5, Jasmine:3, Kitty: 1,Arabella: 1

Scholarship tally so far

Rebeca Barden St Edwards

AR

Arabella Beattie Hurst

Sport

Heather Burrows Brighton College

AR

Poppy De Salis Stowe

Music

Oscar Hill Stowe

AR

Toby Hollis Malvern

Drama

Francesca Hsu Malvern

Sport

Alice Kramer Millfield

AR

Tom Law Eton

Music

Charlie Line Millfield

AR

Maria Mikhaylenko King’s Canterbury

Art

Hamish Milne-Skillman Stowe

Academic

Larry Moir Lancing

Cricket

Bella Molinaro Lancing

AR

Cecilia Noble Wellington

Music

Edward Pollard Milton Abbey

Sport

Avery Smith Oundle

Music

Alex Johnston St Peter’s York

Academic

Myles Dismont Robinson Brighton College

Rugby

A Fourths To Be Reckoned With!

On the expansive main pitch, which hosted our Rugby 7s tournament just the day before, Windlesham’s 4th XI boys’ hockey squad took full advantage of the grass surface against an opposition weaned on astro!

Ardingly showed some good touches, but came unstuck with the unpredictable run of the ball, whilst Windlesham had plenty of spirit and go forward. The visitors defended well and they had to, as Windlesham piled on pressure with some excellent moves down the right and telling crosses being fired into the ‘D’. It was from one of these that Enrique Barrera managed to get under control and thread it between the ‘keeper and a defender for the opening goal. Ardingly counter-attacked and there was a long period of intense mid-field action as both teams worked hard to maintain possession or get it back. From a free hit 25 metres out, the ball was fired into our ‘D’. Rookie ‘keeper Alex Hicks had already made a couple of good saves, but cruelly, the powerful hit deviated slightly and it just clipped Alex’s boots to go in for the equalizer just before half-time.

Captain Albertyn rallied his troops in the break and the second half continued with some entertaining play from both teams as the ball was played from end-to-end. Barrera was in his best ‘poaching’ form and again latched onto a cross into the ‘D’ to grab Windlesham’s second. Moments later a surging run by Jude Neame saw him beat a couple of defenders, get into the ‘D’ and then buried the ball into the back of the net to extend the lead to 3 – 1.

Ardingly upped their game in the closing stages, but despite forcing a couple of penalty corners, they could not penetrate Windlesham’s defence which had been strong throughout the match.

4th XI v Ardingly (H) – WON 3 – 1

E Barrera x 2, J Neame

Man-of-the-Match: Alex Hicks

There was a good rapport after the game between all players who had obviously enjoyed a closely-fought encounter – well played everyone!

Chris Fletcher

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. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/expateducation/10651917/Should-I-leave-France-to-teach-back-home.html

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.

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