With war declared and following a call from the Home Office, it was decided that the only safe course of action was to evacuate all the children from the School Grounds. Amidst the smoke and after a (very) brief journey through the devastation of bomb craters we were soon welcomed at Sandle Manor by our generous hosts Lord and Lady Hartley. With food scarce we feared the worst but Lord and Lady Hartley’s staff pulled out all the stops to provide a sumptuous feast of Corned Beef Hash and Chicken Broth. Trench Cake polished things of beautifully.
We were then treated to an array of World War I themed activities that worked us physically and mentally. We were put through our paces on the Parade Ground by Major Wheeler, given Sniper Training and even practiced breaking and using codes. Our observation skills were put to the test, as were our leadership and team skills as we transported our team around the Assault Course or took the World War I Officer Challenge to see who had what it took to lead men over the top!
It was an evening of fun and laughter but it also taught us more about the War and the effect it had on so many people, in so many different aspects of their lives. Importantly it was also another opportunity to ensure that… ‘we will remember them.’ See pictures here/
There was much excited anticipation in the build up to the 1st XV rugby tour from the boys and although only away for one night, the squad experienced an action packed two days! The aim of the tour, albeit on a small scale, was to give the players an experience of what touring is all about – working together, meeting new people, coping with a different environment, the importance of being organised, following instructions and taking responsibility. To this end the boys responded well and learnt a huge amount.
The trip started down the A303 to sunny (!) Devon to take on the might of St Peter’s – a school steeped in rugby tradition. With an inexperienced squad, this was about learning and St Peters showed the value of moving the ball wide at pace. All their tries were scored through quick handling and the final score of 55-0 reflected this. However, the team kept their heads up and made St Peters work for the points, particularly at the breakdown where FSM showed glimpses of what they can achieve if the ruck low.
After the matches, FSM were treated to a buffet tea produced by the St Peters boys followed by speeches from the 1st team Captains and coaches.
We headed to the Dolphin Hotel and our team debrief followed by a quiz. The winning team comprised of Tom P, Henry C and Ollie I. The silly hat completion was won by Alex M with an impressive pink flowery number. The quote of the tour was won before the team left, In our final meeting, Tom P (1ST XV Captain) asked, ‘Is the meeting about the tour’.
The squad moved onto Exmouth and a deserted ten pin bowling alley where battle commenced between four teams. Top ten pin bowler went to Toby Philpot with a massive 134 pts allowing team 3 (Archie S, Ben V, Toby and Sebastian (and MR) to edge ahead of the competition. Top effort!
The following morning after a hearty ‘full English’, the boys prepared for a room inspection before departure. Again there were prizes on offer. Clearly some of our charges ‘look with their eyes closed’ when tidying their rooms! However Room 14 was of military standard and scored 10/10 – well done Ben V and Sean S.
We loaded the buses and headed for Blundell’s for our next big rugby challenge. Again, the boys did not let themselves down. Indeed, at half time and 17-0 down, they were still in the game. However, Blundell’s had a secret weapon who came on in the second half – Jonah Lomu like, he ran in tries for fun and the final score of 45-7 reflected his influence. However, Hans managed to get FSM on the score board and his effort epitomised the FSM spirit of never giving up.
After a good lunch at Blundell’s, it was on the road again and up the M5 to watch Bath v Newcastle. Before the match the boys went onto the pitch to watch Bath warm up and then performed the guard of honour and appropriately acknowledged the two minute silence with their lowered flags. The boys conducted themselves with distinction – did we get on TV?!
Reflecting on the tour, the boys will certainly have gained much experience. They realise they need to work with each other and support their peers. Listening carefully is essential and this was not always followed by all. On the field of play, each game allowed the team to learn a little more about the key skills – running at depth, supporting the ball carrier, communicating clearly. To this end two players stand out as the tour ‘Nil Nisi Optimum’ award winners – unsung heroes who just got it right every time – Sean S and Hans S. Well done!
Well done to all, particularly to Mr Peak who was a great tourist and a real support. See our gallery here.
Yes, it was filthy weather; yes, it was bucketing down; yes, the tracks would be covered in oozing mud and puddles galore, but could that stop the Junior Boarders and Year 6s from accepting their mission of braving the New Forest… in the dark? Of course not! They’re an intrepid and resolute bunch. Of course they were up for the challenge, it was just the staff that needed convincing.
As I always knew it would, the rains stopped and the clouds parted to reveal a beautiful array of stars by which to guide us.
The children yomped their way through the puddles and though one group did get to see a little bit more of the New Forest than others, they claim it is as a result of following ‘dodgy directions’. They all made it back in time for bedtime drinks and sweet treats.
‘Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.’ Albert Einstein
At FSM we believe that it is important that we approach the centenary of the outbreak of World war One in a way that should help us to focus on the legacy of that conflict, the effect it had on ordinary lives and how it shaped Britain today. Whilst Remembrance Day brings sadness, it also brings hope for the future. Hope of a better world, the world for which so many soldiers believed they were dying for.
During the course of the day there were a number of planned activities, including a Drama workshop for children in Years 1 to 6.The children wrote poems about the war and then had to act them out, as well as signing war songs such as ‘Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag.’ Right from the start the children were quickly drawn into the past in what was an extremely well organised and fantastic workshop.
Around the school in normal lesson times each subject area had chosen to focus on a different aspect of the war. Throughout the day as they went from lesson to lesson they were using their subject skills to learn about a range of experiences from the war. Below is just a taster of some of these learning experiences:
In Science they discussed the hardship of living in the trenches and the “pests” that the soldiers encountered. Although very knowledgeable, the children didn’t know about the communicable diseases or occasional outbreak of RED SLUGS. They also learnt how rats became so bold they stole food out of soldier’s hands and crawled over the soldiers in their sleep!!! Accordingly the Canadian’s used to go RAT hunting along trenches. With this in mind, Mr James had organised a RAT hunt with 44 rat silhouettes hidden around the science lab.
In Mrs Beech’s Learning Centre lessons the children created Haiku poems. Haiku is a Japanese poetry form and a haiku uses just a few words to capture a moment and create a picture in the reader's mind. It is like a tiny window into a scene much larger than itself. The children were able to create their poem based on an element of the war the children were interested in. What lovely ones they did come up with and here is just one example created by Haydon:
‘Damp cold then panic
Fast bullets ricocheting
Brothers in arms fall
Year 7 and Year 8 learned about the countries involved in World War 1 in Spanish and learned some of the colours in Spanish by looking at the countries’ flags. Meanwhile, in Year 6 and Year 8, the children matched up Latin mottos affiliated to the different regiments and battalions, to English translations. Year 6 talked about word derivations (e.g. (Royal Marines) ‘Per mare et terrum’. From ‘mare’ we get the words (sub)marine, marina and from ‘terrum’ we get territory) and then tried to make up their own mottos. Year 8 discussed the differences between the Roman soldiers and the modern army, looking particularly at the equipment they used and the formations/tactics etc.
In French they looked at the different counties involved in WW1, coloured in flags of the countries and labelled countries in French. They also, watched a short film and followed instructions in French about how to make ‘Les Coquelicots’-tissue paper poppies.
In Geography they watched at a movie showing WW1 in numbers, then focused on the famous truce and ensuing football match and the dilemmas that brought up.
Maths was very busy cracking codes. Having learnt the basics of Morse code the children wrote messages based on the war time, many being very poignant.
History focused on women and how their role changed quite dramatically during the war. It brought home the point that just because women didn’t do the fighting they still played an incredibly important part in the war effort doing the jobs that men who were out fighting normally did. It was not unusual to see women fire fighters, bus conductors and police women. Many women were also casualties of the war as they worked in munitions factories with explosions occurring at times. From bombs raids alone 849 people died including women and children, thousands were injured and many homes destroyed.
Amongst all these wonderful activities Matt and the kitchen staff prepared for us a lunch menu based on World War One recipes. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed a delicious soldier stew and homemade bread for heroes followed by red velvet remembrance cake which was made to look like poppies.
Our day finished with our Remembrance Service, which was even more poignant than usual as we thought about those young men who gave their lives to save our country. Each child and member of staff was presented with a specially designed bookmark with the fitting quote-
‘When you go home, tell them of us and say, for your tomorrow, we gave our today.’
Thursday afternoon saw the first musical event exclusively for our drummers, brilliantly run by our head of percussion Mr Jonathan Hilton-King. With our annual music competition finals next week, we decided to give our drummers an event all of their own so that they could receive comments and feedback from a drum specialist. 15 drummers stepped up to the kit to show off their talents, with performers ranging from a beginner in Year 3 right up to our more experienced Year 8 drummers, and even our very Mrs Beech! Each performer copied and demonstrated different rudiments before then performing a piece of their own choice and Mr Hilton-King was able to explain the technical challenges of each performance to the audience so we could fully appreciate the necessary skills required. This was extremely informative for both parents and pupils and whilst it remained a competitive event with the awarding of the Miller Percussion Shield for the best performance of the afternoon, Mr Hilton-King created more of a masterclass feel and it was a true celebration of the brilliant drumming that goes on at FSM, more often than not behind the scenes. It was a pleasure to sit back and watch every pupil perform, and to witness the rapport between teacher and pupil which underlined how much fun making music can be. Congratulations to everyone who took part and especially to Chris A and Felix S for jointly being awarded the Miller Percussion Shield this year. See pictures here.