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A View from The Close 135: Friday 8th March 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The highlight of this week was when a group of pupils, lead by Tom Butt, travelled to Langley Bottom Farm near Epsom Race Course to meet Simon Kibler, Tom Butt and a group of pupils for the planting of 750 trees in memory of a former Dover College student, Arthur Harrison VC. Arthur played rugby for the Royal Navy and England before being enlisted in The Great War. He was killed in action at Zeebrudge in 1918 and is the only international rugby player to have awarded a VC. Our wonderful pupils even conducted an impromptu ceremony for Arthur as they planted the last tree. Although the weather wasn’t at its best, the planting was truly remarkable with the Dover College team helping to create a 640-acre woodland a new piece of history.

On Thursday we welcomed Dr Emma Margrett from St Edmund’s Junior School in Canterbury. She enjoyed a blustery tour of the grounds just before the heavens opened! It was a pleasure to have her with us and learn about all the developments taking place at her School.

This afternoon I will be attending the British Boarding Schools Workshop in Heathrow. This event gives schools the opportunity to meet with a number of agents from all over the world, informing and updating them about their institute.

There has been enormous work going on in the Drama Department, and we’re looking forward to the performances of Calamity Jane tonight and tomorrow evening. So many pupils have put in so much work and it will prove to be an enjoyable and entertaining evening.

Behind the scenes, much is being done in preparation for the new curriculum in September 2019, as well as planning work on the theatre, new classrooms, pavilion, astro and car park. I’ll keep parents updated.

Many people comment on Dover College’s welcoming atmosphere and climate of care. This was reiterated to me when I had a visit from an Old Boy earlier in the week. ‘The school made me realise what love was’ he said. It was a genuinely moving moment.

Open Day was a great success, with 22 families visiting. It was the first time we also had a chance to use our new horsebox café, Marias, and we will be having a formal opening of the venue later this term.

Along with all these incredible events, this week has also seen the Junior School pupils dressed-up as their favourite characters to celebrate World Book Day and the U15 Kent 7s Tournament.

Yours faithfully,

Gareth Doodes


Sport Report

Wednesday 27th February

Priory House Netball vs Northbourne

Both teams unfortunately went down to defeats against the girls from Northbourne who were quicker to react to space on the court than our girls giving them more opportunities to move the ball quickly into space. Maddie Warnock (7) and Ayomide Kuteyi (8) were the standout players in the B team game and Isla Taylor (7) was the pick of the A-Team girls.

Priory House Rugby vs Wellesley

In a superbly competitive encounter, the Priory boys played some magnificent rugby away at Wellesley House. Nathan Powell (8) scored the first try, finishing off a counter attack after great work down the left from Nicholas Proctor (8) who managed to stay infield despite big defensive pressure. Sam Smith (8) streaked away down the right wing to outpace the defence for our second and August Moos (8) busted through the Wellesley centres to sprint in from 40m out. Some excellent defence was also evident and a turnover at a ruck allowed Nathaniel Turner (8) to pick up and attack down the short side to score our fourth try. Despite some debatable officiating at times our boys kept their cool and can hold their heads high.

Thursday 28th February

Over 100 boys from five schools competed in our Invitational 7s at Farthingloe on Thursday. Teams from Dover Grammar for Boys, Harvey Grammar, Duke of York’s and King’s Canterbury played in both U15 and Senior categories in what was a preparatory get together for the county and Society of Heads tournaments coming up this week. 27 boys from the College played some part for our teams, and did very well considering the experience of the opposition. There were many highlights but Ryan Sewell’s (12, School) length of the pitch try was one for the Seniors, in addition to his crunching cover tackles, and Adam Frost’s (10, School) return to the rugby pitch was welcomed by team mates as his fitness and commitment boosted the Under 15s. The boys will work hard on Tuesday in their last training session before their respective tournaments this week

The Junior School Swimming Team

Dover College Junior School Swimming Team took part in the Dover District Primary Schools Gala held at the impressive new leisure centre.

We were competing against 11 other schools, all of which have more pupils to choose from.

The squad consisted of: Josh Chappell (3) Beatrice Lockyer (4) Sofia Gebhardt (4) Joe Fairclough (4) Zac Deekes (5) Phoebe Davis (6) Thomas Walmesley (6) and captain Ciara Flisher (6). All swimmers were a credit to the School.

Gold Medals were obtained by Ciara Flisher Year 5/6 Girl’s Breaststroke and 5/6 Girl’s Freestyle; Josh Chapell Year3/4 Boys Freestyle; Sofia Gebhardt Year 3/4 Girl’s Freestyle.

Silver Medals were gained by Thomas Walmesley Year 5/6 Backstroke; Zac Deekes Year 5/6 Breaststroke.

The 5/6 Relay team gained one silver and one bronze in the medley and freestyle relays and the 3/4 team were unluckily disqualified when ready for the final which was a shame as they were fastest in their heats.

The overall points tally resulted in Dover College winning the small school cup and coming in 2nd place overall, a truly astonishing achievement!

Well done to all competitors and a big thank you to Mrs Clara Flisher for her invaluable assistance on poolside.

Tremendous Textiles

The Year 8 Textiles class has been learning how to spin wool into a yarn this morning, and gaining an understanding of the sustainability of wool and the different varieties of sheep from the medieval lawnmowers, the lovely Herdwicks up at the Castle to the soft fleece of the Southdown from Sussex. August Moos (8, Priory) and Sam Smith (8, Priory) both proved very adept at using the drop spindle creating an excellent spun single ready to be plied.


Creative Writing Excellence

An exemplary piece of creative writing from Year 7 pupil Poppy Tillin:

Don’t Let Go!

“Gravity? There are a lot of words that can describe it: Issac Newton, safe, cool, boring. But what really is it? And what is it there for? I’m about to tell you a story. A story of which you may not want to hear. So, cover your ears now!

I’m going to tell you a story about a boy, a boy to which gravity was nothing, like a piece of fluff is nothing to you. Now before I carry on reader, I must inform you that this story unravels a universe of unfortunate events that quite frankly will scare you to the bone. So please be prepared for a litter of restless nights.

This boy goes by the name of Peter Frank. I must inform you the frank family were very wealthy and lived in a mansion just outside of town, let’s not get this wrong now readers, Peter was very grateful and helped around the house but every single designer goods starved person he met: HATED HIM! So, he usually lay around, on his bed, in his room (the size of my house!), indulging in books about the human mind and our future, he was possibly an expert on it, an Albert Einstein of the human mind. He knew that his knowledge would never come to use but he couldn’t help fantasising. Little did he or anyone know that an event was about to be placed in his life, like a puzzle piece, that would change everything.

It was this very day, when Peter was lying on his velvet bed that he noticed something…? It was only small but meant a lot. One small paper clip that lay on the floor had started to rise, very, very, slowly, floating.

Reader, before we carry on, I would like to put it out there that Peter is a brave boy so there will be no screaming of the sort, if you want that go and watch a horror movie!

Now we may carry on… As I was saying, until I quite rudely interrupted myself: Peter was calm and quiet about it all; as he knew what was coming next! Slowly but surely everyone was letting go. Everyone was letting go…!”

World Book Day Reading Tree

In order to celebrate World Book Day’s ‘Let’s Share a Story’ theme students filled in tags with their favourite books and hung it from a tree. It made a lovely display and a great talking point.

Students also entered the National Book Tokens Design a Book Token competition. One lucky winner’s design will be made into a real-life National Book Tokens gift card, to be distributed across bookshops nationwide in time for Christmas! Pupils had to put their design on to a template with the theme of Share a Story. A panel of judges will select a winner and runner-up in each of three age categories: up to 8 years, 9-12 years and 13-16 years.

We wish you all lots of luck!

Whole School Sponsored Walk – Saturday 23rd March 2019

Each year, the whole school community at Dover College participates in a sponsored walk to help raise funds for charity – our elected charities for this academic year are Young Minds and Dover smART project.

The walk will take place on Saturday 23rd March, covering a distance of approximately 15 miles starting in the historical town of Sandwich and ending back at Dover College. Further details will be sent out in a separate email to parents.

A paper sponsorship form will be sent out with the letter to parents and pupils are encouraged to gain as many sponsors as possible prior to the event. In addition to the paper sponsorship form an online sponsorship campaign has also been launched. Staff, pupils and parents are encouraged to share the online sponsorship link in order to widen our sponsorship appeal.

If you would like to donate online, please visit:

The Gardens & Grounds of Dover College

Mad March Gardeners……..Feeding and Weeding!


The early bulbs are out and looking very pleased with themselves.

Hopefully you have noticed the dwarf Narcissus tete-a-tete flowering by the Chapel. They are new this year and have put on quite a good display with some double headers. They will naturalise and so increase in number year on year, and should be joined by some lovely blue Scillia `sibirica` later. Keep your eyes out for the new spring and summer bulbs, flowering shrubs, herbaceous plants etc. all over the main site.

The Cherries and early Almonds (Prunus and Prunus Dulcis) are flowering nicely and are even earlier than usual due to the extremely mild February. I am a bit nervous with everything budding so well and so early as the same happened last year and then in March we had the `Beast from The East` strike, with its -14`c temperature, snow and freezing rain, which killed all the buds and put back late spring and early summer plants by three weeks, pushing flowering into late May and early June as the plants had to re-bud.

There is still some pruning of shrubs to finish off as well as the dividing and replanting of herbaceous plants to fill in gaps and reduce overcrowding on existing beds. Sadly, there is a lot of the dreaded Honey Fungus spread over the main site which we are battling with. Its infamous for invading and causing extensive root rot, so we are expecting to lose a few shrubs come spring proper, as despite our best efforts they are looking rather peaky. They have been drawing their plant pensions for really quite a long time now.

We have already begun cutting the grass, I did want to give it a longer R&R period, but needs must as its happily growing away. Feeding is starting alongside moss treatment and weed killing as nothing has actually seemed to stop growing over the winter, especially the weeds! We have had Acanthus and Echinops which are summer Herbaceous perennials flowering non-stop since the spring, alongside some pinks and a solitary Rudbeckia outside the Bursary.


As well as our usual grounds work we are going to be tackling the heavy duty moss at Maxton cricket field this month. It is one of those jobs that has to be done, but it is always a worry to do, because moss killing in grass always makes the turf look so bad before it gets better. It is rather an intense pre-season prep this month as there is lots needing done at Maxton this month to get the cricket square improved and moving in the direction it should be. Cut, moss treatment, weed treatment, feed, scarify, scarify, scarify…aerate and roll. Once its finished we will have lovely grass rather than 70% moss and weeds.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

That’s about it for this month. Next month is April and I’m predicting eggs and showers!

Mrs Jen Ball
Head of Gardens & Ground

'Recycle with Michael'

Turn your unloved clothes and shoes into cash for Dover College!

Just to let you know about an exciting new project - today, we’re announcing our involvement in a new campaign and competition which aims to raise funds for the school whilst helping others in our community. And we need your help.

We’re going to Recycle with Michael!

Facilitated by The Salvation Army’s Clothing Collection service, this nationwide scheme aims to divert thousands of tonnes of unwanted items away from landfill.

So we’re asking you to dig out those old clothes taking up space in your wardrobe, sort out the outgrown shoes, and fill the bag our special ‘Recycle with Michael’ donation bags!

Plus, the school that fills the most bags in the county will receive a special visit from Michael, the recycling mascot, to present a trophy and certificate.

It couldn’t be easier to get involved. Simply:

1. Collect a bag from Priory Lodge, fill the bags with your unwanted clothes and shoes (no bric-a-brac please).

2. Return the bags containing your unwanted items by Thursday 21st March and leave them either in Priory Lodge or the Junior School office.

The Salvation Army will collect the bags and the money raised from the items will be shared with the school. The more bags we fill – the more cash we raise! If you’re having a clear out, remember Recycle with Michael, and donate to a great cause.