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A View from The Close 132: Friday 8th February 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I have been very grateful to parents for their feedback on the possible shape of the week changes that could take place this coming September. Our aim is to increase contact time for pupils, and ensure that we are able to deliver the exciting new enrichment courses that will be included in the GCSE+, A Level+ and Careers Programme. The management team will take on board all thoughts; please do not think that this is a government-style consultation where the decision has already been made!

I have enjoyed seeing how pupils this week have been working so hard on the Sports Field. The girls put in a valiant performance against Ashford School, and the Junior Rugby Teams braved a chilly day to put on a fine performance against St. Lawrence in Ramsgate. I am very grateful to the support of parents who brave the icy weather to cheer the teams on.

We thoroughly enjoyed Chinese New Year this week, too; every Chinese pupil was given a Red Envelope, and two mandarins. It was a lovely occasion, and I’ve never raised a Chinese flag before on the College Close, but no doubt this is the start of a new tradition! It was super seeing the Chinese pupils preparing the feast for New Year, too, led by Ivy Chen, our quite superb Mandarin Teacher who has made an enormous impact on the College.

Pupils today are winding their way to North Wales for a Fives Tournament at Rydal Penhros School, and looking ahead to next week we are very much looking forward to the Sixth Form Open Evening which will take place on Thursday 14 February at 1800. Is there nothing more romantic than bringing your partner to such an event?!

I hope everyone has a super weekend. Don’t forget that every Sunday we have a Service at 10:00 in the Chapel; it’s a wonderful was to start a new week and celebrate the community and family that is Dover College.

Yours faithfully,

Gareth Doodes

Sports Update

The Senior Netball Girls unfortunately had a tough week of it, with a defeat on Tuesday away against St Lawrence and their Tuesday fixture away against Bethany being called off due to the weather.

Wednesday 30th January

Priory Rugby vs Norton Knatchbull

The U13 boys had a return fixture against the previous week’s opponents and it proved to be an excellent test. The first two quarters were drawn and there was one scored difference in the last two. In total, 22 boys got the opportunity to play at least half a game, scoring some excellent tries, the pick of which was Nicholas Proctor (8, Priory) streaking down the left, outpacing the defence to score in the corner. This was a more cohesive performance in both defence and attack and bodes well before the visit of Wellesley on Wednesday.

Priory Netball vs DYRMS

The U13 girls made the short trip up to Duke of York’s on Wednesday and competed very well with a gritty performance, especially well into the latter stages of the game, with only one score difference in the final quarter.

This week is incredibly busy with Indoor cricket, Eton Fives to North Wales and our inaugural Cross Country Invitational on Saturday, in addition to our normal block of fixtures.

GCSE Poetry Live!

On Friday 1st February Miss Green and Mrs Smart took the Year 11 English Literature GCSE group to London’s Apollo Theatre for a poetry conference.

Poetry Live! included an opportunity to hear one of Britain’s best poets, Simon Armitage, read his work. Carol Ann Duffy (Poet Laureate) and Gillian Clarke gave an exhilarating joint reading of sharp, funny poetry full of a literary past, from mythology to Shakespeare. John Agard gave an exciting performance of his contemporary poetry, combining historical awareness, cultural insight and extraordinary humour. Imtiaz Dharker, Daljit Nagra and Owen Sheers also read their work. In addition to this, the poets responded to student questions. 

The event also included sessions by a Chief Examiner which were invaluable for students preparing for the GCSE examination. 

Our students really benefitted and were inspired.

Chinese New Year Celebrations

The highlight of the term to date in Leamington has been a huge feast to celebrate the Chinese New Year. It was a little early but Friday nights are always a good time to relax and enjoy each other’s company in the House. Yusu (Ethan) Zhao who is in Year 12 and has been in Leamington for four-years masterminded the shopping, preparation and cooking and there were a wide range of dishes that were absolutely delicious. The Leamington boys from Priory were staying for a rugby fixture and they had the bonus of getting an amazing meal!

I understand that they have been badgering Mr Butt for more Saturday fixtures so they can have another banquet – I’m not sure they have twigged that the Chinese New Year only happens once a year! The sauces for the pork (after all, it is the Year of the Pig) and the chicken were tasty with hints of garlic, ginger, anise and chillies. The cabbage, asparagus and spring onion dish was great but my favourite was the liver in a spicy sauce.

The Gardens & Grounds of Dover College

It’s February…Spring is on its way…sort of…!

So as I’m writing this we are having snow and there is a bitter wind, but for gardeners there’s a small excited feeling building as we can almost smell spring around the corner…

Jobs for the month are again mostly preparation work and pruning…lots of pruning with lots of planting thrown in.

It’s time to prune shrubs and climbing plants. Wisteria needs to have its summer growth pruned back to within three or four buds of the main framework and it’s time to finish pruning any roses.

With rose bushes aim for an open hand form with four or five stems pruned down to approx. 12 inches/30cms to an open facing bud (a bud which has a direction of growth away from the centre of the plant to avoid congestion), and remember to make a sloping cut so any rain will not collect on it and cause rot.

Standard roses should be pruned into a wine glass shape…champagne is preferable…!

Climbing roses too should have summer growth pruned back to two or three buds from the main framework to an open facing bud.

Cornus with its bright winter stems should be `stooled` back to a couple of buds from the ground, this will allow fresh new stems to grow over the summer so that its winter stems are new growth and so full of colour.

Apple and pear trees should be pruned at this time of year, but we will be leaving any Plum, Cherry or Apricots as winter pruning opens them up to attack from ‘silver leaf disease’ fungus which will spoil the whole tree as its leaves, buds and fruit curl up and die.

Winter flowering shrubs such as Mahonia and Viburnums are to be pruned after flowering has finished, and hardy evergreen hedges and deciduous shrubs should be renovated by removing every third old stem to allow new healthy growth to come through.

You can see all this happening especially around The Close and Junior School garden as we work our way around the college. You may also see us digging up some flowering bulbs such as Snowdrops buy don’t worry its only to divide and replant them. You should always do this `in the green’ for the best results. Leaving bulbs in too thick clumps (technical term there!) can reduce the rate of flowering as they struggle for space and nutrients.

You should notice the extra thousands of bulbs we plated in the autumn coming through this Spring and Summer. You`ll also start to notice the hundreds of Hawthorn (Craetagus) plants we are planting around the perimeter of the main site, over 1200 to be exact. It`s been hard work removing the tons (and I mean literally tons in weight) of ivy growth from on and sometimes in the walls, but come blossom time it should look stunning as well as increasing the colleges site security and bio diversity.

On the grounds we are aerating like good ‘uns! With slit tinning, hollow tinning and solid tinning. We are also going to be rolling Farthingloe pitches and Maxton outfield as they are rather `bumpy’, (another technical term for you there).

I have arranged for soil profiles to be taken and nutrient analysis of Maxton to be carried out which will give me a better idea of what the soil profile is like and what work has been done over previous years. This allows me to target and plan specific nutrient and mineral feeds where needed and will give me a greater insight into the site as a whole.

Well next time its March...Cricket prep starts, and so does grass cutting.

Jen Ball
Head of Grounds & Gardens

Friends of Dover College Chocolate Bingo!


Time: Starts 19:00 Ends approx. 21:00

Venue: The Great Hall

Tickets: £2.50 per person. Cash bar and
bring your own snacks!

Donations of chocolate would be gratefully
received and can be bought into the Junior School
Office or Priory Lodge.

Guesthouse Chapel

For a whole term now the Chaplain and Headmaster have been organising a Service in Chapel on Sunday mornings at 10.00am, with the added help of Rupert Hill. We have deliberately made this open to the public as well as to members of the student body and the staff. Do please feel free to come and join us on any Sunday when there is no Whole School Eucharist. The service is normally Holy Communion but non-communicants are very welcome. It is a quiet, reflective, spiritual service, lasting 45 minutes, and followed by coffee and croissants. 

It takes place even in the holidays. Numbers are currently between 10 and 15 and we sit in the choir stalls. On Christmas Day, however, we numbered 65, with a good number of families with children. Why not give it a try?

School Notices

We are really excited to announce that Dover College is now a Member School with School Notices, a free online marketplace in which parents, alumni, staff and friends of the school can promote their businesses, buy and sell stuff, rent properties and look for jobs, interacting with thousands of parents in the independent education sector. There are also amazing exclusive offers for members. 

If you have a business that you would like to promote to this network or know one that does, business advertising is chargeable and 25% of any advertising that comes through a Dover College affiliated parent, alumni or local business, is given back to the school to put towards our internal & charitable initiatives.  

So please support us, have a look at and we would strongly encourage you to REGISTER HERE and enjoy the site.

Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Jessica Doodes –