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I am writing my blog this week from the depths of the Wye Valley on what has been the most fabulous Form 5 residential. When over the initial shock of no internet or signal I have to confess to loving being totally immersed in the great outdoors, and really appreciating the beauty of our glorious countryside. The residential has been just brilliant. We have camped all week, climbed and abseiled at Symonds Yat rocks and most impressive of all, spent 7 hours on the water on Wednesday, canoeing 14km down river towards Ross-on-Wye. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and we all saw amazing wildlife and found the most stunning spot to have our well deserved lunch. We even ran the rapids at Symonds Yat. Throughout the week the children have shown great courage, commitment and compassion – 3 of our core school values. Well done Form 5 and thank you for looking after Mr Stazicker and myself!

On Monday I was delighted to meet Jeremy Pope, the great grandson of Alfred Pope who had this house built between 1892 and 1894. Jeremy came to talk about Sunninghill, or South Court as it was known many years ago, on the Victorian Architecture Walk, organised as part of the Dorchester Walking Festival. Before his talk I was lucky enough to have a fascinating half hour with Jeremy hearing about his memories of visiting this beautiful building, and the historic uses of the various rooms in the house.

I was very proud to hear the results of our sailors who competed in the Millfield Regatta on Wednesday evening! 8 of our children in Forms 6-8 competed at the Andrew Simpson Centre at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy. It was a fabulous day, with 6 other schools competing, and we are delighted to announce that Will and Freddie P. came 2nd out of the 20 boats, winning silver medals. Well done to them and also to Freddy H, Scarlett, Ren Ren, Natty, Leo and Hamish and thank you to Millfield for organising such a fantastic event.

Congratulations must also go to our mathematicians in Forms 7 and 8 who entered the UKMT Junior Maths challenge, a nationwide maths competition, back in April. The children did a fantastic job, with 10 children gaining a bronze award and 5 children winning a silver award. Special mention must go to Mark who won best in year (Form 8), and Louis who gained a gold award and also achieved best in his year (Form 7) and best in school! Well done to you all.

This week in science, Form 7 were tasked with creating a model of a specialised plant or animal cell as part of their current unit on ‘Cells’. The majority went for edible models – with no complaints from Mrs Evans! Pupils have learnt more about the organelles within the cells and what makes them specialised as well as revising all the keywords in preparation for their assessment next week!

Still in creative mode, Form 7 also enjoyed researching, designing and building towers in art this week with some very impressive creations, influenced by buildings of the world. The form worked incredibly hard, with great concentration and Mrs Staines was thrilled with their results.

Preparations for the Lion’s Lair are hotting up! Form 8 held their cake sale at break time today to raise money for their projects. On the lines of young enterprise, each team is preparing a range of products for sale at the Summer School Fair. This year we have three teams; ‘Wags and Whiskers’, ‘Case Closed’ and ‘Fudge it’. Intriguing!

The aim is for the pupils to learn about setting up a business; from coming up with commercially viable ideas and researching their target markets, to customer relations and sales. They will be making a presentation of their products to a panel of judges (the “Lions”), professional women and men from a range of backgrounds.

There will be opportunities for you to pre-order their products before the Summer Fair, so please do support them if you can. All their profits will go towards their chosen charity.

It was lovely to welcome Ms Livesay back into school on Tuesday, who came to visit Form 1 with her beautiful baby Wilfred. The children were so excited to see her and see how much Wilfred has grown.

Finally, Casey Foot has asked me to share with you a charity event that she is organising on Sunday 28th May. It is a short or long run, suitable for families, and they are raising money for Cancer Research and Dorset County Hospital. There will be various family friendly periphery activities. Open to all to come and partake or cheer on from the sides. Please support this event if you are around over the bank holiday weekend.

My thanks to the whole team for looking after the school so brilliantly in my absence but especially to Amelia who did a splendid job! It is assessment week next week so I hope you all have a wonderful but restful weekend.

Best wishes