The Year 7s were treated to some hot and sunny weather for their adventure. The relatively short stay meant that they had much work to do, but they set about their tasks enthusiastically and without any delay. The woods we were staying in offered plenty of resources which meant that the shelters they built were amongst some of the best I have seen. Although this process took longer than they thought, there was still time for a bush kitchen to be built and supper to be prepared and made. The year group worked well, and it was hugely pleasing to see everyone helping each other out as the sun set and darkness fell. The sun rose the next morning and some tired faces emerged from their shelters. However, their spirits were still high as we they munched in bacon sandwiches, fruit and plenty of liquids. Due to the heat, the walk was significantly shorter than the one we planned, but even so it was still challenging enough and at 3.00 pm they made it back to school, tired, but pleased with their efforts. The Year 8 challenge is yet to be decided, and we will need to do a few mini expeditions next year before we decide what it is they attempt. Needless to say trust and teamwork are at the forefront of that decision. We will wait and see!
OK, let me begin with a confession: I have never spent a night in the wild’ before. I tried camping in a school friend’s garden once, but only lasted half a night. I prefer the comforts of a hotel with en-suite shower. However, part of Mr. Drake’s vision for his expeditions is to take pupils out of their comfort zone and – in our increasingly technological age – it seems more important than ever to get back to nature; to remind ourselves that we can exist without the television, internet or even running water. I was nervous, but if Year 6 pupils were willing to give it a go…
We could not have asked for better weather: warm (but not scorching heat), cloudless blue skies, and the idyllic setting of the Brown’s woods. Outdoor Education might sound like a trendy soundbite, but this expedition was genuinely educational, as well as great fun: learning to build shelters from natural materials; identifying different types of tree; understanding how nettles can serve practical purposes… While the adults were busy preparing a delicious stew on a camp fire, the boys and girls created some practical shelters, working in twos or threes and taking on board Mr. Drake’s advice about safety, warmth etcetera. As dusk saw the woods darkening, England’s penalty shoot-out success against Colombia brought cheers to the fireside. The subsequent storytelling was of a more dubious quality, but maybe that is something we can work on in the classroom.
Personally, I was unsure whether I would last a night in a hammock but there is something magical about looking up to see a green roof of foliage rather than a ceiling. The five a.m. sight of Nick Stanton approaching with a spade was momentarily worrying, until I realized that he had been digging a hole for what Mr. Drake euphemistically refers to as ‘admin’.
The following day, no one complained as pupils took it in turn to map-read our way back home from Cockfield Green to OBH along rural footpaths. On a glorious summer’s day, what better way is there to remind ourselves how lucky we all are to live in the Suffolk countryside? OBH pupils are incredibly lucky to have a knowledgeable, patient teacher who brings life in the wild alive for them, guiding them through simple but essential life and survival skills. I might even volunteer for the next trip. Now I never thought I would say that.
Dr. Marshall, 4th July 2018
All our prayers were answered; a sunny Saturday for the House Athletics Sports day. All the preparation had been done, the children were organised and the staff were ready for another close competition. The day started with the field events, and as the morning progressed it was clear that this was going to be a very tight affair. Leading into the start of the track events, Mercury had the edge on Mars , and Saturn were just in front of Jupiter. It was hot, and the children drank furiously between races The sprints arrived which was the turning point for the whole competition. Mars had the edge on the sprint races and it started a flurry of wins for the red house. Mercury were always going to play catch up and after the relays the entire school waited in anticipation. Mars just pipped Mercury to the win, winning the trophy for the 3rd time in a row, followed by Mercury and then Saturn and Jupiter. Huge congratulations to all the children for making it such a fantastic event and to all the staff for their help in running it so smoothly.
Spero saluted a year of existence on Thursday! We chose the most glorious evening to celebrate the fun and friendship we have all enjoyed over the last academic year. Twenty-five children gathered in the bunting bedecked orchard for a picnic BBQ, enormous chocolate birthday cake (thank you Jane and Mike in the kitchen), football games, swimming and our special “surprise mystery guest”. Thank you, thank you, Mr Fowles for entertaining us with your magic tricks and banter. Everyone was wowed by the ace tricks, the moving pea and most of all how to turn a magazine into £20 notes!! He inspired many mini magicians; explained how to get into the “magic circle”, and finally taught everyone a magic trick. Do ask them to perform it for you at home!
What fun was had at the OBH Fest III on Saturday night! Plenty of dancing, singing and shouting lyrics. Milkshakes and treats galore were consumed by the colourful festival goers. They bounced the night away and performed some classic dances such as YMCA where all were joining in and waving their arms in a multitude of directions. This was capped off when the headmaster was subjected to some cream pie to everyone’s great amusement. All of this after some wonderful games of cricket against the parents as well as Sports Day meant that all the boys and girls slept well before the Year 8’s departed for Northumberland on Sunday morning. The rest of the boarders enjoyed the bouncy castles, swims in the pool and an exciting game of football played by England.
It was wonderful to see all those who have boarded over the past year enjoying the final weekend. We have enjoyed being part of the friendly atmosphere that the pupils have created and we hope that they will continue to enjoy boarding throughout the week and during the weekends next year.