November, 2018:

Dear David Walliams,

Dear Mr Walliams,
Hello, we are Year 4 from Old Buckenham Hall School in Suffolk and have the best offer you will receive today!

Our exciting news is we are going to reopen our Library and you are our second choice to open it! Unfortunately, JK Rowling was busy washing her hair so that left us with you. Raj from the newsagent is keen to open it, so you had better be quick in replying.

We know you are an incredibly famous author with a helicopter and a busy schedule but surely you could fit in a few hours to open the library. If you are lucky you may get a mention in the OBH mail newsletter!

We think you should open the Library because everyone likes your books and you are ‘quite funny.’ although Jeremy does prefer Enid Blyton. You can read us a story from your favourite book and we will offer you the Platinum Package tour of our school before you press your gold buzzer to open our library.

The school is very old and the library is being returned to its original room. This has a massive, roaring fireplace (no toasting of marshmallows) and very tall bookcases. The windows are very big and there will be window seats for us to read on.

You will be treated like royalty and the food here is fantastically delicious. There are also old trophies and lots of photographs for you to look at. Did you know the composer, Benjamin Britten, Charles Bowman, the Lord Mayor, Harry Judd, the winner from Strictly, were also former pupils at our school and they are almost as famous as you!

Mr Pascalides is our teacher and he once went out with two of your friends, Matt Lucas and Stephen Merchant for a beer, so you are practically best friends already! The opening date is in January and because you are such a jet-setting superstar, we can be flexible to fit in with your plans.

Get your people to speak to our people and we hope to see you soon. At the very least, could we have a signed book or photograph? We could put it next to Benjamin Britten.

Yours sincerely

Keep Calm and Bluff & The Amazing Race

After some enjoyable House matches the boys and girls were ready for the weekend and an evening out at the casino. Well, really the casino came to town…. the Drawing Room….where croupiers dealt the cards, chips were frozen to the chosen numbers or suits, before the ball rotated madly about the wheel. A crescendo of anticipation was greeted with various exclamations as the sphere came to rest. Time after time the sphere stopped on the right numbers for the players as their luck was in. The dice were also rolled whilst the horses, Diamond Back, The Ace of Spades, Club Royal and the Queen of Hearts all hurtled down the race track with the crowd giving them a helping hand. Great fun was had before the children retired for the night.

Sunday breakfast in pyjamas was followed by a lovely church service at Hitcham where Thomas was congratulated on his reading by several members of the community. Some of the boys and girls had a go at ringing the bells before we all returned to school and relaxed before consuming a lovely roast lunch with all the trimmings and apple pie and custard for pudding. Emily, Charlie and Kimble provided the children with some wonderful games and activities in the afternoon where they relaxed, made a mess with edible treats and laughed at each other’s attempts to describe films without using the listed words. Relaxation time after supper and tuck in front of a film brought an end to the day and an early night was welcomed by all.

Thanks to all the children for their efforts and we look forward to welcoming more into the boarding house for the Open Boarding Weekend on Saturday 1 December. If your child would like to
join in the fun then please complete the form and return to Tracey.

Spotty Dotty Day

The School was awash with spots and dots as the children dressed up for Children in Need! There were some fabulous and creative costumes and prizes will be presented to the best dressed child in each year in Assembly on Monday. The Pudsey Coin Challenge was a triumph. Mrs Bolton helped by 6FA produced a wonderful painting of Pudsey which was laid out in the Old Gym. The children had great fun laying all their coins and Pudsey was very quickly completely covered. A staggering £152.01 was collected.

The children will be coming home with their tube of smarties today. We would like them to try and fill the empty tube with as many 20ps as they can, by helping around the house and doing odd jobs. The tubes should be returned at the beginning of next term. House points will be awarded!

Thank you for all your support.

Autumn Concert

The audience and performers were jam-packed in the Britten Hall and everyone from Year 3 to Year 8 took part. The concert was themed on the 1970’s, and a large proportion of the pieces performed were from that decade, including many by ABBA. The concert started with splendid versions of Mamma Mia and Knowing Me, Knowing You from the orchestra. The Senior Strings performed the complicated arrangement of ‘Dancing Queen’ with great confidence, and the Chantelles gave us very polished versions of the more reflective ‘Our Last Summer’ and ‘I Have a Dream’. We also had some very groovy ‘Saturday Night Fever’ from the Wind Ensemble and 70s rock from the highly promising Junior Rock Band, making their performing debut after only three week’s rehearsal. The Drum Group made their 70’s contribution with some magnificent moustaches and a huge amount of fun, and the Year 3-4 choir gave us a charming version of the ‘Rainbow Connection’ from the Muppet Movie. Stringendo completed the 70’s line-up with their lovely performance of “If” by Bread.

Accompanying this trip through the 70’s was music from the 1570’s (thank you Brass Ensemble!), the 1950’s and 60’s, and more recent decades as well. All the groups performed with distinction. Our beginners’ groups showed great promise, starting to spread their ‘Wings’ (enough 70’s group references, thanks – Ed.); Mini Fiddles’ ‘Barrier Reef’ beautifully contrasted with a menacing ‘Shark Attack’. The boys’ choir’s energetic and enthusiastic singing of the sailing-themed ‘Sea Change’ continued a nautical thread; even more energetic was the Rock Band’s ‘Paint it Black’. The brass gave us a nice shot of ‘Tequila’ to go with their Renaissance courtly dances.

Rounding off the evening was one last ABBA track, ‘Thank You For the Music’, with solo contributions (and three-part harmony) from Evalina, Scarlett, Jemima and Nolly who had risen from her sick-bed to play her part in the concert.

Thanks to all the OBH children and their teachers for putting this excellent and hugely enjoyable evening together. Bravi tutti!

The Boarders’ Week…..

Whilst the boys and girls have been practising for the Autumn Concert and some have been completing revision, Barbara has been performing in the Drawing Room. Yes, the Year 8’s of course have been swinging and swaying, jiving and waltzing with great purpose in preparation for the Masquerade Ball next term. Great fun has been had twirling, spinning and placing the correct foot in the correct place. A first aid bag was brought down to the venue in preparation, however, the levels of coordination were boundless and rhythmical…. to a certain degree. It has been great to see them all support each other and help each other improve these skills and therefore the first dance at the end of next term will surely be a splendid sight as long as each couple can decide who is leading whom.

Toast – when people talk about Spero they always mention the toast!! Toast and honey, toast and marmite, toast and jam, hot buttered toast. The children rush up after their activities, have had their shower and it is not long before everyone is sitting around the table and the toaster begins to ping. The smell wafts down the stairs and suddenly everyone wants to come up and visit! The best part is just sitting around the table and gossiping about the day. Many an evening year 3,4 and 5 have put the world to rights over toast!

Open Boarding Weekend
The next In-Weekend (01-02 December) will be our Open Boarding Event and details of the weekend will be with you shortly. Plans are in place for “Claus’ Christmas Rock Around” where all pupils in Years 3 to 8 are invited to book in for the Saturday night and board as well. Places will be given out on a first come first served basis. Fancy dress will be important and prizes will be awarded. Various games will be played and the main event will be rocking so don’t miss out.

Dorm Decorations
In anticipation of the festive season ahead, boarders are welcome to bring in their Christmas decorations for the last two weeks of term for the dorm decorating competition and we would like to remind everybody that only battery powered lights can be used if boarders wish to bring them in and the results will be announced in the last week of term at FIRESIDE where the boys and girls will perform sketches and songs for all boarders and staff.

OBH Remembrance Poppy Project

After many weeks of planning, preparation, painting and construction from the children, it was brilliant to be able to proudly display all of their artistic endeavours to mark the Centenary of Armistice Day. The children’s recycled bottle poppies certainly set the tone and a lovely back-drop for our Remembrance Assembly and Service. Once again we would like to thank Izzie and Charlie for their amazing ideas and also to their mum, Clare, for her time, efforts and generosity with the project. The family are responsible for instigating this amazing project and we would particularly like to thank them all for collecting, washing and prepping hundreds of bottles. It goes without saying that we are all very grateful for their time and effort. Poppies were planted and entwined into beautiful Remembrance Wreaths, garlands on the pillars and a camouflage net of poppies. It really is a testament to the children’s hard work and their enthusiasm has been a happy companion throughout the project. As always, there is a strong message behind this; that OBH thanks and remembers fallen heroes of the armed forces from conflicts past and present. We would also like to thank parents who picked a poppy to take home and donated £1 for The Royal British Legion.

Year 5 Girls’ STEM Olympiad

Mrs Blackhurst organised a Year 5 Girls’ STEM Olympiad as a way of encouraging girls to focus on STEM subjects in a way that is not normally possible in classroom teaching.

Teams of 5 girls from 12 different schools used logical thinking, problem solving, accuracy and their prior knowledge to complete a series of challenging tasks.  For added motivation, some of the challenges had a competitive element. Teams from Great Whelnetham Primary CEVCP School, South Lee School and Dame Bradbury’s School won the Engineering, Maths and Science prizes. Overall winners and recipients of the STEM Olympiad trophy were Fairstead House School and Nursery. As a team, their overall scores across the challenges demonstrated a terrific depth of knowledge and understanding in all STEM subjects.

Spero News

Another jolly week in Spero – after weeks of perseverance Lovell won the dorm prize. Well done, boys!

Our super boarding prefects continue to visit some evenings. They have really taken on the mantle of older mentor – plaiting hair, playing games and reading stories to the younger boarders. It has been lovely to see the bond growing. One of my young charges said this week that when that when she is in Year 8 she wanted to be the boarding prefect so that she could return to Spero and help new boarders. Leading by example is exactly what we had hoped to engender by re-introducing prefects.

Brettenham Village Bonfire Night & ‘The Great OBH Bake off’

This week the Year 7 girls had pizza and watched The Wedding Planner in their common room. All enjoyed the entertainment and are looking forward to more fun and games in the evenings.

Enjoyment was also experienced by all those who came to the Brettenham Village Bonfire on Saturday evening. This has always been a marvellous event and this year was no disappointment. The homemade GUY met its match and the flames engulfed this historical figure. Cheers went up and continued to be raised by the expectant crowd as the ‘bang, fizz and whizz’ of the firework display left all amazed with the bright colours streaming this way and that. The boarders played, ate and drank whilst the crescendo of lights and bangs reached its climax before they retired for the evening to the dining room to warm their bellies with hot chocolate, cake and biscuits before relaxing in front of a film.

Sunday morning rose brightly along with the boarders who meandered down to breakfast in their pyjamas before either going to church or helping the community. Special thanks must go to Anthony and Thomas who dug, forked and then planted hundreds of bulbs along the roadside in Brettenham village. A roast for lunch was enjoyed peacefully with staff and children chatting happily before The Great OBH Bake Off. The brief set by Mrs Rice was simple, Bonfire Cupcakes, however the soggy bottoms and decorations were going to be essential if ‘Paul’ and ‘Pru’ were going to offer their criticisms. Mrs Rice and Mr Roberts stood in for ‘Sandy’ and ‘Noel’ and provided the children with great support and encouragement. Ideas for decorations were researched on the computers whilst proving and baking took place and then the icing was put on the cakes. The contestants sat nervously as Mr Miller, ‘Paul’, and Theresa, ‘Pru’, judged the fine creations. Photos were hidden beneath the cakes and three were selected after others had been discarded. In third place was Cristina, second was Nolly and in first place was Thomas. All celebrated by devouring a cake or two and sampling the wonderful treats. Thank you very much to Mrs Rice who came up with this great event which the children thoroughly enjoyed.

Parents Activity Morning

It was so lovely hosting so many parents for our poetry themed activity morning. Nursery all enjoyed some number and nursery rhyme activities, Reception were busy being witches with their Room on the Broom themed activities; Year 1 were working hard on matching nouns to verbs, to create a poem about themselves and Year 2 based their morning on the fabulous Dr. Seuss books.
A lovely morning was had all round.