Headmaster's End of Term Letter - Summer 2017

Monday, 31 July 2017 Posted in After Lights Out

July 2017
Dear Parents and Guardians
And so another academic year ends!  I know the children are ready for a good long break after packing so much into the term (indeed the year) and it is well deserved.  We have had a really good year with some fantastic achievements in all areas, some real progress in many others and, as behoves any community, the odd challenge.
The term started, as Summer Term’s do, with an Arctic chill to ensure cricket supporters particularly were reminded that no clout should be cast till May is out, basked in a heatwave leading up to half term and has enjoyed typical English conditions over the last few weeks.  One of the greatest joys of the Summer Term is to look out of my Study window and see the activity on the Patch and surrounding areas – children up trees, in the nets, on the pitches, playing volleyball and short tennis, pursuing a bantam or dear old Charles the turkey or just passing a few minutes on the grass with their friends.  That doesn’t mean that the indoor facilities are not being used and the Art and DT Rooms are always hives of activity.  Of course sport and activities have been central to many of the children’s lives and we have enjoyed (or endured) results on both ends of the spectrum and rehearsals for the term’s productions as well as the  performances themselves have played a big part in several of the year group’s schedule: a fantastic outdoor performance of ‘King Lear’ by the 3s, a fun 2s’ Weekend complete with its ‘Le Cirque Catastrophe’ and the grand finale – the 1s’ musical, ‘Grease’ have all been much enjoyed by the audiences, the directors and, most importantly of all, the children themselves.
Of course the ultimate goal of any child’s Ashdown career is success at CE and this year we have had success across the board to a range of schools, both local and national as well as scholarship success.  Huge congratulations to Jemima Bland on her Academic Scholarship to Mayfield, to Esme Heath on her Art Scholarship and Honorary Academic Scholarship to Benenden, to Sacha Heath-Wolsak on his Music Scholarship to Battle Abbey, to Eloise van Praagh on her Riding Scholarship to Mayfield – what multi talented children we have!
Numbers for September continue to rise and we start the year with 137 definite starters.  I continue to believe that word of mouth is the strongest ‘marketing tool’ we have and I would like to thank parents and children for spreading the word.  We are holding an Open Day next term on Saturday, 23rd September from 11 am if you know of anyone who might be interested do pass the date on.
We have a few staffing changes for the coming academic year of which I wanted you to be aware. I know you will join me in thanking the departing staff for all they have done for the children and the school and that you will welcome the new ones enthusiastically.
Tom and Ashleigh Gloster will be joining us to take over the running of the boarding.   Tom comes to us from Moor Park (Herefordshire) where he has been Head of Maths and Boarding Tutor as well as coaching on the games pitches.  Ashleigh has been Head of Games and a middle school teacher at Lucton School (also in Herefordshire) and just happens to be captain of the England ladies’ lacrosse team so we look forward to adding this to our club options at the very least!  A young and dynamic couple I know they will fit in brilliantly and the children will benefit hugely from their many talents.  Annie and I and the girls will be moving down to Beech House and the Glosters will move into the flat.  Having decided that the time is right to make the move into what was always the Headmaster’s house  we have been very fortunate to have found Tom and Ashley to run boarding with the excellent team of houseparents but of course we will continue to be very much around, as accessible as we are now and in overall charge. 

Paul Smith has been with us since 2013 in the Log Cabin where he has helped hugely with our EAL children.  They have benefited enormously from his experience and his gentle but enthusiastic approach.  He has also shown his skills on the football pitches helping the games teachers with their teams.  He and his wife, Becca and their new baby Toby, are heading back to Becca's native New Zealand  (shores ) and we wish them much happiness for their new ventures on the other side of the world.
Alex Grimmer, who has been teaching Maths for the last year, is moving on to St Felix School in Suffolk where he will be taking over the running of a house and also continuing to teach Maths.  We wish Alex and his wife, Veronica, much happiness up in that lovely part of the world as well as with the baby due shortly after they move.
David Hunt joined us in the Lent Term for two terms running the DT Department and grasped the challenge getting some superb work from the children.  It is never easy knowing you are only a temporary part of the team but David has fitted in to Ashdown life and we wish him well for the future.
Josh Duarte will be returning to the Ashdown community to take over the DT.  Josh is very talented as well as having had plenty of experience helping in the department prior to completing his degree.  He is also a keen sportsman and will be contributing to all areas of the school.
On the games front the children have benefited greatly from the presence of James Steele, Sam McCarthy and Jack Moxley all of whom will continue to coach the children next year.  Will Taylor, who has also been very involved with the sport, will take on more teaching responsibilities helping me to prepare children for the Common Pre Test.
Dr Patricia Patterson Vanegas will be joining us to offer Spanish as an option.  The Mandarin already on offer is proving very popular and individual and group Spanish lessons will, I am sure, be equally well supported.  Spanish will form part of the 4s’ timetable.  
We will also be welcoming two new gappers, Aimée de Havas and Will Birch, who will, I know immerse themselves fully into all that a gapper’s life throws at them from covering lessons, to folding laundry to painting scenery to photocopying!
Finally most of you will have met Yvonne Lorraine who has largely now taken over the office from Sue Cooper.  Yvonne came from Worth School where she was first Headmaster’s PA and subsequently Registrar and brings much experience and expertise to the office.  Sue has been Headmaster’s secretary for the past 22 years but she has decided that the time had come for a ‘new model’ to run the office as behoves the 21st century.  Sue was brought in to wield a word processor and is only too delighted that Yvonne – with Biddy Clayton’s continued  help – brings new life to the role.  Sue will continue to be involved with Ashdown, focusing largely on the Bulletin, alumni and aspects of marketing.
 All that remains now if for Annie and me to thank you for your support and most of all for sharing your children with us.  Have a wonderful summer with your families and we much look forward to hearing news of the children leaving us as well as to seeing everyone else other than the pre prep back at Ashdown on Wednesday, September, 6th (to be here by 11 am).  The pre prep return on Thursday, 7th September at between 8.15 and 8.30 am.
With all best wishes
Haydon Moore