Head Teacher's Newsletter

21st November 2014
Dear Parents,
I am very pleased to share with you a detailed report on our school trip to Salamanca, Spain
which took place in half term.
Trip to Salamanca: Pupils from Form 3 upwards spent much of half-term topping up their
sun tans before winter set in during their 6 days in sunny Salamanca, Spain. We were
blessed with temperatures of 25-30 °C, very different to the weather we had last year which
was mostly grey and rather damp! Just to give you an insight into the look and feel of
Salamanca, it is home to the oldest university in Spain, which dates back to the 12th
century. It also has two cathedrals, a convent and of course like all good Spanish cities, a
vibrant Plaza Mayor. All these buildings are constructed in a very beautiful stone, known as
Villamayor, which gives the city a warm, sandy hue. The centre of town is unspoilt by any
modern buildings and, being mostly pedestrianised, is extremely pleasant and safe to walk
around in. That doesn’t mean you can’t find shops such as Zara or Mango (did someone
mention MacDonalds too?!), but they are all very much in keeping with the rest of the town.
Each morning we had three hours of Spanish lessons at our language school, Academia
Isla, in the centre of Salamanca. In order to add a little more authenticity to the experience,
many pupils stayed with host families too. Lessons were given by native Spaniards, some of
whom were native Salamantinos, referred to locally as charros – not to be confused with the
churros (doughnuts) that we had with our chocolate. Breakfast at the Chocolatería Valor is
definitely a must-do Spanish experience, and the chocolate con churros is a treat many
people like to have all across Spain, particularly at the weekend or on the way back from a
Saturday night out.
We always try and incorporate some sports activities into this trip and so our Spanish hosts
organised for us a basketball match against a Spanish team and a trip to the climbing
wall. It was hard enough to climb as it was, but when we were blindfolded or spun around
before making the ascent, it notched up in difficulty somewhat.
This year, we tried a new activity, Pelota Vasca, which is a game that can either be played
by holding a scoop in one’s hand or by covering one’s hands in Elastoplast and having a
block of wood to protect the part of the hand where the ball is likely to hit hardest. That was
the game we saw and Mr V devised his own version that all of us could play safely.
We visited the ancient walled town of Ávila, Spain’s highest city, and enjoyed some fantastic
views from the ramparts across great expanses of Spanish countryside bathed in
sunlight. The town was a stronghold of Catholicism until recently and is home to some 22
At the weekend, we went on a walking tour of Madrid, taking in the Palacio Real, El Retiro,
La Puerta de Sol, and whatever other sights we could pass along the way. But, we were
really containing our excitement for the final item on the itinerary, which was the tour of the
Bernabeú Stadium, home to Real Madrid. One cannot fail to be impressed by this, whether
one is a football fan or not; with a capacity for over 85,000, it is vast. The exhibition is
superb and you can see many of the national and international trophies that have been won
over the years and even the football boots and kit of Cristiano Ronaldo, encased in
glass. Sadly, the pitch was off limits but we were pretty happy all the same to be able to sit
in the dug-out and imagine what might have been. Real Madrid were playing Barcelona that
weekend and we tried to get tickets but at 400 euros, that too was off limits!
The pupils were great company and Mr V, Mrs Cripps and myself all enjoyed spending time
with them. They made us very proud and when, at the end of our return flight, one of the
passengers turned to us and said she hadn’t realised she was on board with a school trip,
we couldn’t have received a better accolade for the behaviour of our pupils. Thank you to all
parents who supported this trip, to the pupils that came and to Mr V and Mrs Cripps for their
invaluable help and support. Mrs Bond
Children in Need: On Friday last week our Juniors spent the day in Onesies to raise money
for Children in Need. There was a wide array of outfits and the staff joined in as well. Not to
be outdone, the Seniors organised a lunchtime basketball match, also played in Onesies.
Great fun was had by all. The Juniors raised £199.71 and the Seniors £70 making a grand
total of £269.71. Thank you to everyone for their support.
The Juniors are picture in their Onesies in the South Downs Hall where they enjoyed a
performance of Dick Whittington from a visiting theatre group.
Great Ormond Street Hospital: Last
term, whilst still in Upper Juniors,
Georgie Hoare initiated the idea of
making and selling loom bands to raise
money for Great Ormond Street
Hospital where she has been receiving
treatment. Assisted by Pien Wevers
and Isabel Wilson the girls’ efforts
raised a terrific £160.20. Very well done
Ditcham Park Dogs Unite Sponsored Walk:
Thank you to all of you who came along to the
sponsored wall last Sunday! This lovely event
was well-supported and great fun was had by all
- adults, children and dogs alike! The weather
was kind to us, the autumn foliage through
Coulter’s Dean was stunning and the children
enjoyed the Sensory Tunnel and meeting Guide
Dog Taylor. We’re hoping to run a Spring
Sponsored Walk next year; watch out for details
in due course. Please send in your sponsorship
monies as soon as you can so the School can
finalise the funds raised for the children’s “Name
a Puppy” appeal. Early indications are £275
raised thus far.  Mrs Allen
Shelter: Following the Art Auction at last term’s Arts Evening, I am delighted to let you know
that the total raised was £621 which has been sent to Shelter. Thank you to everyone for
taking part, particularly the pupils who painted and donated the fabulous work.
Pre-Prep Bat Talk: Our topic this half
term in Pre-Prep is ‘Lively Light and
Super Shadows’. We have been learning
all about sources of light, shadows, night
and day, and about animals that come
out at night. This week Mr. Knight, from
the Bat Conservation Society, came to tell
us all about bats. He told us lots of
interesting facts about these little
nocturnal animals and showed us some
real bats which had died and been
preserved. He also suggested ways to
protect bats and encourage them into our
gardens. What an interesting afternoon!
Mrs Knowles
Transition visit to Petersfield: On Tuesday morning
Transition Class visited St Peter’s Hall in Petersfield for a
morning of multi-faith activities. We were delighted to meet
an array of people who talked to us about Christianity,
Sikhism, Judaism and Islam. After learning many facts
about other people and their faiths, we enjoyed a group
work session which allowed us to dress up in traditional
clothing, handle objects special to other faiths and ask any
questions to help us understand more!
We had an great time and came away with a much broader
understanding. Special thanks to Anna Somerville and
Joanne Hartley for helping us on this trip.
Miss Hamilton and Mrs Richardson
Merit Badges been awarded to the following Juniors:
Theo Cable
for his work in Maths
Max Neave
for his effort in English and Spelling
Sam Sage
for creative writing
Tamara Crocker
for creative writing
Eilidh Edward
for her short story in the creative writing competition
Amalia Farrow
for her short story in the creative writing competition
Olivia Toms
for being an all round team player at Hooke Court
Benjamin Wagner Gammon for organisation and independence at Hooke Court
Alice Cobden
for attempting all tasks with enthusiasm and determination
Flora Butler
for her positivity and engagement at Hooke Court
James Bull
for excellent work in Maths
Harrison Barnard
for great enthusiasm in all lessons
Ella Pickett
for her beautifully presented work
William Goldmann
for his work in Mathematics
Martha Clough
for being a great friend to Millie in Reception by looking after
her on the school bus and making sure she is delivered safely
to Mrs Langdon-Shreeve
Merit Badges have been awarded to: Sophie Landauer, Ella Gordon and Jade Boniface.
Head Teacher’s Awards have been made to:
Joe Chapman: Joe took on the demanding task of producing the presentation to mark
Ditcham Cycle Club’s 2014 charity ride to Paris. Joe’s selection of photos which he
creatively linked together with music and comments was viewed with great pleasure at the
post ride party and by the whole of Seniors, and has been distributed by Anne Harris to all
the participants on the ride.
Nicholas Taee: The 1st Form entrants into the fitness club are undertaking the challenge
that Mr Stretch sets every year, which is to learn to hold a balanced handstand, and to walk
the length of the SDH on their hands by the end of Form 1. All the boys are making great
progress in this skill, but Nicholas Taee has worked at it with such determination and focus
that he has become the first member ever (of any age) to pass the test within only half a
term of starting training. In the experience of Mr Stretch this is an extraordinary achievement
and a fantastic incentive for the others in this super group.
Arthur Dinham-Peren: For excellent commitment to reading.
Jade Boniface, Eloise Fuller and Madeline Walker-Moffitt:
For being exceptional
Congratulations to Olivia Bicknell and Megan Bird who have been appointed Senior Art
Congratulations to Charlie Guimaraens who has gained a good merit in his grade 5
classical guitar exam.
Duke of Edinburgh Award: The following pupils have achieved their Bronze DofE Award:
Poppy Beaumont, Olivia Bicknell, Joe Birtley, Sebastian Bluestone, Will Crossman,
Melissa Jones, Daniel May, Clarisse Murphy, Sorcha Smith and Florence Willcocks.
Whole School Painting Project: Over the past couple of weeks all pupils and staff have
been contributing to a whole school painting of the school which will be on display in the
main entrance hall. The painting is the gift of our former Head Boy and Girls parents,
Thomas Baynes and Annie Davis and the project is being overseen by artist Mrs Louise
Braithwaite, parent of Amy who was also part of the class of 2014. We look forward to
sharing the final painting with you all when it is unveiled and hanging in our main entrance.
ISA National Art Competition: Former Form 5 pupil Robert Fry, recently
had a piece of his work entered into the regional ISA art competition and won
first prize in the three dimensional category. This work then went forward into
the ISA National competition where he achieved a Runner Up certificate.
Very well done to Robert, his sculpture really is a very stunning and strong
piece of work. Mrs Metcalfe
Ditcham Cycling Club: The first and 'awesome' session of Ditcham Park MTB Cycling
Club took place on Saturday morning using the North Woods Trail in the school grounds to
practice bike handling skills followed by a 4.5 km loop on local bridleways. Pupils, ranging
from Middles to Form 2, learned how to do track stands and front lifts before putting them
into practice on the trail. Not put off by early morning mist or occasional bursts of rain, the
riders all showed great enthusiasm and potential and impressed the instructors. Well done
to Alec O'Loughlin, Ben Mitchell, Oliver Evans, Tom Gorringe, Edwin Johnson, Mia
Somerville, Freddie Somerville, Benjamin Wagner-Gammon, Alex Bjergsted, Jack Cozens,
Ben Haworth, Ethan Leighton, Alex Tessem-Cotton, Matthew Saunders, and Harry SodenBridger. Thanks to MTB Instructors Stewart Johnson, David Rymer, Fergus O'Loughlin; and
thanks also to Chris Kent (Form 4 helper and keen mountain-biker) and Ditcham dad
helpers. Mrs Harris and Mr Stretch
Juniors’ Twitter Account: We have introduced a twitter account which can be accessed
via @DitchamJunior. Please feel free to follow us and if you have anything you would like to
tweet about regarding the juniors please feel free to do so.
Department for Education Advice for all parents on cyberbullying: Following our recent
visiting speaker who presented to Upper Juniors to Form Four pupils before half term and
also a presentation made to parents by Mr Ainsworth, I am pleased to direct you to the latest
documentation on this subject from The Department for Education which is available in the
Parents’ area of the school’s website or via this link. This guidance is specifically for parents
and carers and I do encourage you to review it. It is not a long document and it does contain
some very important guidance and advice for all parents on social media and cyberbullying.
Seniors’ Drugs Awareness Day: We were very pleased to welcome Peter Hall into school
on Tuesday who came to talk to pupils in Forms 3,4 & 5 in three separate one hour
presentations, as part of their PHSE programme. I attended the Form 4 presentation and
was really impressed by the focus of our pupils on this very important life topic. Please do
find time to talk with your children about this whilst it is particularly fresh in their minds.
Sports News:
Match Results
U12 Mixed Basketball v. Meoncross
U14 Girls’ Hockey v. PGS
U13 Football Tournament at Dunhurst
U11 Football v. Princesmead
U16 Girls’ Basketball v. King Edward’s
U12 Girls’ Hockey v. Frensham Heights
Won 12-6
Lost 0-1
See report below
Drew 0-0
Lost 12-13
Won 2-1
U13 Girls’ Hockey v. Frensham Heights
U13 Netball v. TPS
Next Week’s Fixtures
24th November
U8 Football v. Dunannie (H)
U8 Netball v. Dunannie (H)
U12 Netball v. TPS (H)
25th November
U15 Football v. Frensham Heights (A)
U13 Basketball v. Meoncross (H)
U12 & U13 Girls’ Hockey v. PHS (A)
26th November
U11 Football v. Dunhurst (A)
U11 Netball v. Princes Mead (H)
U16 Basketball v. Bedales (A)
27th November
U14 Basketball v. Meoncross (H)
U12 Netball v. Bohunt (A)
Parents v Pupils Hockey 2014
Pupils v. Parents Hockey Match: On Sunday 7th December the sixth annual Hockey
match between Ditcham Park School Pupils and Ditcham Parents will be held on the
astroturf pitch at Dunhurst School, Petersfield. If you have played in the school hockey
team and you are in Forms 3, 4 or 5 you are eligible to play. Please sign up on the list
beside the PE office. If you need any more information please contact me
[email protected] for more details. Note: Pupils will need to be in school kit,
match tops will be provided, mouthguards and shin pads compulsory.
If any parents are interested in being a part of this event please email
[email protected] who will be collating and running the parents’ team. Don’t worry
there will be no pre-event training sessions, but after the match there will be a debrief and
a match tea for all families in the pavilion. Please bring along a plate of sandwiches/cakes.
We will provide drinks.
All family members are welcome to come and support the match as we want to create a
great atmosphere and to have some fun!
Details: Pitch available from 2pm Sunday 7th December. Match to start 2.15pm finish by
Address: Dunhurst School, Alton Road, Steep, GU32 2DR. Please park at Dunhurst
school car park.
Congratulations to our U14 Girls’ Hockey Team who triumphed in the Hampshire U14 Girls’
Hockey trophy The girls played brilliantly as a team and did not even concede a goal. A
terrific performance by them all and to win this competition is a very special achievement.
Well done girls.
The U13 football team took part in the Dunhurst 6-A-Side Tournament this Wednesday 19th
November. With 60% of the Ditcham Park School squad being from Form 1 this provided an
opportunity to develop their skills, the remaining 40% were from Form 2. They drew two of
their matches and lost the final match, with all ten players representing their school for at
least one full game. If they could have won their final match they would have progressed
through to the semi-finals. I was very proud of how the whole team played, it was a very
respectable performance and well done to each of them. Mr Goode
The U12 basketball team who had an exciting game against Meoncross which resulted in a
narrow victory for Ditcham.
Important message from the PE Department: Would parents please note that all pupils
must have separate indoor and outdoor footwear for PE/Games lessons. Muddy trainers are
making the sports hall dirty and often slippery, which is dangerous for all concerned. Thank
you for your co-operation.
Forthcoming Events:
A reminder that today - Friday 21st November - our Senior Chamber Choir, Senior Wind
Group and Senior Girls’ Choir will be performing at the Stansted Park Christmas Fayre
between 5:00 and 7:00pm.
On Tuesday 25th November Middles Juniors Assembly for parents. Please join us for a cup
of tea in the Dining Room at 245pm and Assembly will begin in the South Downs Hall at
Friday 28th November is a school mufti day when pupils are asked to bring in donations for
The Friends’ Christmas Fair. They would be grateful to receive donations of any of the
following: Books, Unwanted Gifts for Secret Santa (your children can buy and wrap
presents), Sweets/Chocolate for the Tombola (please remember the No Nuts policy), Bottles
for the Barrow ie wine, beers or soft drinks and filled festive jars.
Senior pupils will be performing in the Joint Schools Save the Children Festive Concert on
Friday 28th November at Churcher’s College. This concert involves pupils from Ditcham
Park, Bedales, The Petersfield School and Churcher’s College and is always a very
enjoyable evening. Tickets are available from the school office, Adults: £8, Concessions: £6.
Form One Entrance interviews: Following our Upper Junior Parents' Information Evening
on the Form One Entrance procedures, I am very much looking forward to interviewing all
Upper Junior pupils over the next two weeks. The first pupils will have their interview on
Monday 24th November. Mr Ainsworth and Mrs Mothersele will let all pupils know their date
and time and ensure that they are on time for their appointment. The pupils will be able to
write their time down in their homework diary and this will be managed by their class
teachers. Occasionally we do have to make alterations to the schedule but this will be
managed by the school and shared with the children at the earliest opportunity. As
confirmed in my presentation on Thursday evening, the only preparation which is required is
for you to support us in reassuring your son/daughter, encouraging them to stay calm and to
see the interview as a nice opportunity to tell me about their hobbies, favourite lessons at
school, pets, ambitions and other similar topics. All interviews will take place within the
normal school day so no changes to transport arrangements are required.
Mrs Parrott and I wish you all a very enjoyable weekend.
Andrew Rowley
Head Teacher
Helen Parrott
Head of Juniors