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A View from The Close 146: Friday 21st June 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,

At the beginning of this week, I visited agents in Italy and Switzerland. It was wonderful to achieve their feedback on Dover College and how we are a popular School for international boarding pupils.

This Sunday 23rd June, the Old Dovorian Eurcharist will be taking place from 10:30 in the Chapel. We welcome parents, pupils and staff to join us for this event.

In copy 141 of The View from The Close, I was delighted to annouce the appointment of several new members of staff joining the College from September 2019. I have one additional colleague to add;

Dr Rhinannon Jones (Teacher of Science) – Rhiannon studied Physics at Oxford University and earnt her MPhys degree in 2005. She enjoyed it so much that she then stayed for another four years to earn her doctorate in Condensed Matter Physics. During her time as a graduate student, Rhiannon was fortunate enough to work as a lecturer at Hertford College, teaching undergraduate students as part of the Oxford tutorial system.

I am also now in a position to update you on the staff changes that will be taking place;

Clara Hebblethwaite (Head of ISC) – Clara joined us as a Modern Foreign Languages teacher in January, covering Elodie Stafford’s maternity leave. Clara will take on the role of Head of ISC from September. She is a dynamic and inspirational teacher with over ten years experience of brining language to life in the classroom. Clara speaks French and Spanish fluently.

Ed Breeze (Priory Deputy Housemaster) – With experience as an Assistant Housemaster already, Ed will join Laura in Priory House from September as her Deputy.

Rupert Hill (Leamington Housemaster/School Archivist/Deputy Round Square Coordinator) – Although Rupert will be retiring from teaching, he will continue to be Leamington Housemaster but also takes on the role of School Archivist and Deputy Round Square Coordiantor. Rupert will be uncovering hidden treasures in the Dover College Archives as well as supporting Laura with Round Square developments.

Charline Marié (Head of Sixth Form) – Not only will Charline be getting married this summer, but she will return to School as the Head of Sixth Form from September. Charline has been a fantastic Housemistress to the Duckworth girls over the last term and will provide excellent support for the Sixth Formers.

We look forward to our current members of staff settling into their new roles.

Yours faithfully,

Gareth Doodes.
Headmaster
 

Sports Report

Monday 10th June

Priory Boys’ Interhouse Cricket

This match took place on The Close and was a fantastic spectacle with both houses playing some quality cricket. Leamington bowled first and restricted School with some tight bowling, taking nine wickets, Thai Deekes (7) with seven of them. When it was Leamington’s turn to bat the openers fell cheaply and it was looking likely to be a close result before a superb partnership between Hector Hodkinson and Thai Deekes, who scored 25 not out and was awarded man of the match, saw the purple team home.

Saturday 15th June

Senior School Sports Day

The Senior School Sports Day was once again a terrific morning of competition with some excellent performances. There were two new records to note this year, Nathaniel Turner (8, Priory) breaking a 16-year-old Priory Long jump record by 13cm and the School House Intermediate relay team lowering the time from 2011 by .06 of a second. School House won overall, pipping Duckworth by just five points. Zoe Lorenz (10, Duckworth) and Jack Hanson (12, Leamington) were our Senior Pentathlete champions, Ryan Sewell (12, School) won the Victor Ludorum and Lucrezia Cerino (10, Duckworth) was Victrix Ludorum. Thank you once again to all staff who assisted in making the morning such a great success, and to parents for the vociferously positive support.
 

Junior School Sports Day

The event of the year was upon us, and yet again, it was spectacular! Eagerly, the children spoke about their dancing skills under the new house coloured gazebos before performing this year’s warm up dance with grace and rhythm.

The scores leading up to sports day were the closest they have ever been, so all was to compete for from the very first mini event. Each pupils battled hard in their mini events, with laughs, smiles and words of encouragement coming from parents, teachers and teammates alike. Before the flat races began, there was only 14 points between 1st and 2nd place. In addition, there were very points between the boys and girls in Years 5 and 6 competing for the Victor and Victrix Ludorem.

With some impressive running, the gaps in the scores began to widen between the three houses. Christian were edging away, followed closely behind by the other two houses. In each category, Christian ran a remarkable relay winning each event. All the pupils ran with determination, with a few of the nursery children even having time to use the baton as a telescope at their teammate as they ran towards them. After the relays, began the tug of war. Finally, the teachers had regained the bragging rights for the year in a fantastic display of over-powering strength and sheer dominance. Then came a reintroduced event of the relay race between parents, students and teachers. The race was fiercely run. The winners being the sixth form students, followed closely behind by the teachers. Although, at least two boys and two girls were required in the race, unfortunately the sixth formers did not adhere to this, so they were quite rightly disqualified – winners the teachers again! Better luck next year parents.

Finally came to the awarding of the prizes and the revealing of points. In third place was Ashton, second place Nevill and in first place Christian. For the first time in six years, Ashton did not win sports day. There was one new record in the Years 5 and 6 boys long jump achieved by Freddie Fairclough (6). The Victrix Ludorem was awarded to Ciara Flisher (6) and the Victor Ludorem was awarded to Toby Grove (6), huge congratulations to them both on achieving this award.

A brilliant event, thank you to all those who helped and came along to support the wonderful young athletes.

Come on Nevill, next year is our year I can feel it!

Report by Haydn Annakie, Head of Junior School Sport and Year 3 Teacher
 

Old Dovorian Eucharist

Sunday 23rd June 2019, 10:30

The Old Dovorian Eucharist will be taking place this Sunday 23rd June from 10:30 in the Chapel. Please do come along if you can!
 

The School House & St Martin’s Summer Social

School House and St Martin’s House celebrated the end of term with a joint house social on Wednesday evening. The houses enjoyed a fun night at Flip Out in Ashford where they had an amazing time showing off their trampolining skills, whilst also celebrating Mr Payne’s birthday! This week is also National Boarding Week so it was wonderful to have so many day students board with us after the event. 
 

Live Canon Children's Poetry Competition

We are delighted to inform you that Aleks Babaev (9, Leamington), Gabriella Hood (9, Duckworth), Kirsten Blackburn (9, Duckworth), Adam Frost (10, School), Imogen Langley (10, St Martin’s) and Nathan Hall's (10, Leamington) poems have all made the shortlist of Live Canon 2019 Children’s Poetry Competition.

Although they did not win this time, they should be extremely proud of themselves for being shortlisted – the panel received hundreds of entries and narrowing it down was extremely difficult!

As shortlisted poets, their poems will be published in the 2019 Children’s Anthology. They will receive a free copy of the anthology as their prize. The celebration and prize giving will be on Sunday 7th July 2019 at the Greenwich Theatre in London where they will see actors from the Live Canon ensemble perform some of the poems. Congratulations again! We hope Aleks, Gabriella, Kirsten, Adam, Imogen, and Nathan enjoy seeing their poems in print.

Mehrdad the Marvellous!

Merhdad Ameri Vamkani (13, School) has become the second pupil so far this year to achieve the Gold Level of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. He completed all of the sections with carefully developing skills, patience and quiet determination. All participants, at all the levels of Bronze, Silver and Gold are expected to work on each section, in their own time, for at least one hour a week. Here is a summary of Mehrdad’s journey to Gold success:

For 12 months’ “Volunteering” Mehrdad helped out in the Dover College Junior School with Cubs, Beavers and Sports. His Assessor, Mr Fairclough, commented that, “Mehrdad’s enthusiasm and ability to interact with all of the children has made him a great asset to the staff and children alike.”

In the “Skills” section, for six months, Mehrdad developing his teaching skills by assisting Mr Brooks with the running of the Gifted and Talented Maths Club. Mr Brooks said, “Mehrdad performed well, gaining a Silver Certificate and used his skills to boost the overall performance of the College. He is very patient and will make a very good teacher.”

For the practice “Expedition” Mehrdad and his team went to the Brecon Beacons and followed this with a Qualifying expedition in The Lake District. Both expeditions covered over 100 miles walking in wild country. The Qualifying Assessor commented, “Mehrdad was usually the driving force behind getting the group moving in the morning and at tent pitching in the evening. He did a good part of the route planning and ensured that the route was understood by all.”

The “Residential” is an extra section just for Gold participants and each participant must organise a stay of five days and four nights with a group working on a particular project.  Mehrdad chose to learn gardening skills for a week in a park back in his native Iran.

Because Mehrdad joined DofE directly at Gold he had to complete an additional six months to the usual 12 months for the “Physical” section. One hour a week, for 18 months, Mehrdad has been working out in the Dover College gym to improve his fitness levels for his favourite sports of Horse-riding and Football.  Mr Payne wrote of Mehrdad’s determination as he attended the gym in the early hours of the morning to reach his goals. He said, “Mehrdad has also been great helping younger students.”

The Dover College DofE Centre Manager, Mr Cox, said, “I am always proud of our high achieving DofE participants. Mehrdad has worked his way through the challenges of each section with quiet determination. When there has been a setback, he just smiles and shrugs and starts again. He is a fine ambassador for himself, his family, Dover College, DofE and his country. I am so pleased for Mehrdad that he stuck with the scheme and achieved this highest award. I look forward to cheering for Mehrdad, and his friend, Sina Farhadi (13, School), (who passed Gold a fortnight ago) when they get their certificates from royalty at St. James Palace at the next award ceremony.”
 

Year 12 Attend the Road Safety Experience

On Monday 17 June, 22 Year 12 pupils took part in an immersive and interactive event at Rochester Fire and Rescue Station to increase their awareness of the road dangers posed by young drivers. The Kent Fire and Rescue Service now attends more Road Traffic Collisions than house fires.  Many of these collisions involve young and inexperienced drivers.  The Road Safety Experience event combined film, practical demonstrations and modern technologies to deliver road safety education in a fun and interactive style. Designed for young drivers, the Road Safety experience helped our young people to learn from the experiences of others, improve their safety and provided them with the necessary skills to

make better-informed decisions in all driver and passenger situations. Kent Fire and Rescue have produced more information about this event at http://www.kent.fire-uk.org/your-safety/road-safety/road-safety-experience .
 

Over the summer…..Gardens and Grounds

So, the summer holidays are racing over the hill towards us like a Disney stampede…

While we are pupil free there are plans a plenty for grounds and gardens.

In the Gardens during the summer (and continuing well beyond), outside of our usual weekly jobs and hedge cutting, we are mostly focussing on the areas we need to redevelop and renew, specifically areas in King Stephen’s garden, the Junior School, Farthingloe and the main site. These all have areas that need to be taken back to basics and cleared of invasive species and overgrown or diseased shrubs and trees. This will allow the plants left to flourish and stand out, with plants and settings complementing each other (rather than battling each other for attention) and therefore improving the aesthetics of the college as a whole. Around the rest of the main site we have already brought in new work practices to lose the square aspect of all the evergreen and flowering shrubs. Shrubs cut square with hedge cutters is old-fashioned and doesn’t show them off to their best. Hand pruning takes longer and requires greater skill and thought but the results are well worth it. This new approach will start in earnest in September with their autumn prune, the benefit of this approach to be seen in their flowering from next spring onwards.

On Grounds its repair, repair, repair!

The Close, after so much use, needs some TLC and the summer will give us time to aerate, feed, top dress, over seed and rest it. There are several bald areas, which show severe compaction and we need to ease this to allow grass growth to come back. There are also several dips and holes we need to fill, top dress and seed ready for the September return of sports. We have a mild outbreak of red thread fungus (Laetisaria fuciformis) to deal with at Farthingloe. Red thread is quite common on year round used pitches and spreads easily by its spores being picked up on the bottom of shoes. It is not harmful to the pitches or players, mainly just unsightly. It is usually seen during late spring/early summer in wet weather and is a sign of soil compaction and lack of nitrogen. It will be contained with high Nitrogen feeds and solid tine (spike) aeration. The tricky part is to time the feeds correctly. If the weathers too dry the applied nitrogen sits on top the grass and burns it, too wet and its leached through the soil by the heavy rain and moves down below the grass root zone to an area where it can’t be easily used. This is why I have four weather apps on my phone …..none of which (of course) are ever right!

At Home…..

If you are going to be spending time in your own garden remember to summer prune your apples and pears to avoid fungal silver leaf. If you are unsure exactly when to do it, prune when the bottom third of the new shoot is stiff and woody, this is usually mid-July onwards for pears and third week in August for apples. Prune your Philadelphus, Deutzias and Jasmines after they have finished flowering and take back you long Wisteria runners by a half in August to make spring pruning easier. Deadhead your Perennials and roses to encourage more flower production. With roses, you should cut back the flower stem to its first proper leaf; do not be tempted to just trim the top off. Remember to stop feeding fat balls, suet and whole peanuts to the birds this time of year as it can choke the chicks. It’s much better to put out seeds, mealworms and kibbled peanuts until fat ball return time in autumn when the chicks are grown. Remember to check your hedges for nests before hedge cutting and leave water out for the hedgehogs, cat and dog bowls are great as they are not easily knocked over by the snuffling beasts.

Happy summer!

Jen Ball
Head of Garden & Grounds