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A view from the Close - 15 September 2017

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As I have walked around the school this last week, observing lessons and looking at the dynamics of the College, I have been heartened by the business-like approach everyone has been taking to their academic work from the very start of term.

There is no place for any complacency. Some people may be watching a TV show on BBC 2 on Sunday nights that is called Astronauts: Do you have what it takes? A group of relatively young, keen and very intelligent young men and women are each week put through various tests and gruelling physical exercises to see which one has the most resilience to enable them to be astronauts. The programme is chaired by Commander Chris Hadfield, an enormously efficient and slightly frightening Canadian who has the highest of standards.

It’s a perfect metaphor for what the pupils are going through. At the start the most bombastic and cock-sure candidates thought that they could wing the process, impressing people with bluff, bluster, and good humour. They were quickly disposed of, and those who persevered, who kept their heads down, who concentrated on the end game of achieving their dreams, made it through to the final rounds.

And to top it all, the person who I think will win spent his time at school being teased for being a geek. Tim is studying for a PhD in Cosmochemistry, he’s got a mod haircut, and knows stellar facts without hesitating, and is utterly cool. And he’s achieved his PhD, and his degree, and now the very real possibility of becoming an Astronaut, because he worked his socks off and never lost sight of the end game.

So as my senior school pupils entered into week two of this academic year, I reminded them that for those taking their GCSE and A Level exams, they start in 30 teaching weeks’ time. That means that like the constant, end-game focussed slog of the potential astronauts, my pupils need to put the time and effort in now if they’re going to see the results at the end.

And as my junior school pupils start new and exciting challenges in the classroom and activities, with a number starting the Prince William Award, we reminded them in assembly and chapel to work as a team, and all the time to develop confidence by putting themselves outside of their comfort zones.

In sport in the senior school, three College teams travelled down to Sussex to face Bede’s last Saturday, unfortunately coming away with three convincing defeats. Each team scored two goals, with Jaiden Flisher, KJ Alabi and Sammy Smee (with a brace) scoring for the two more junior XIs. Ryan Sewell scored two brilliant goals for the 1st XI, in a man of the match performance, with Lasse Gugat also making a notable debut in the centre of midfield. As Juergen Klopp said after Liverpool’s heavy defeat against Manchester City on Saturday, “The result is not important, we will forget that, but we will learn the lessons from the performance and get better”.

We have had matches this week against Wellesley House and Dover Girls Grammar. I will provide more extensive reports on these next week, but needless to say the results were superb and bode very well for the coming season.

Many of the pupils in the senior school have been working exceptionally hard over the summer period, and I was delighted to report that a large number of pupils have gained Awards for Exceptional Holiday Work over the summer which I awarded in assembly on Monday.




Summer Hilton

Emily Winther

Harry Meadows

Harvey Mashiter-Yates

Dillon Clarke


Toby Clarke

Isabella Nudd

Erin Harris

Edward Aylward Lopez




Nathan Hall 




Toby Clarke

Dillon Clarke




Archie Meleady

Harvey Mashiter-Yates


Angelique Taylor

Edward Aylward-Lopez


Modern Foreign Languages


Tyler Henderson,

Amira Ostalski-Khan,

Dillon Clarke,

Joe Payne Martinez


Erin Harris, 

Rosie Baldwin

Louise Wallace


All in all a purposeful and focussed week. Jess and I are looking forward to the sixth form BBQ this weekend, and seeing day parents at matches next week.

As ever,

Gareth Doodes.