25th September 2020
After a much needed exeat, all the boarders returned to school happy, rested and relaxed.
Sadly, in March we had to send our four Aussie Gappers home; they all said they’d be back but as time went on Miss Couper, Mr Brimson and Mr Collins decided instead to start their University courses early. The only Gapper to return was Miss Melluish and I am hugely grateful to her. Before she got to us she was lucky enough to do some travelling in the safe parts of Europe this summer.
Also luckily for us, Miss Otway, Mr Coles’ second cousin, was able to join us for the Michaelmas Term. Miss Otway will be joining the army to train as a nurse in January. She did a year gapping at a school in New Zealand, so is perfect for the job!
Looking out of my office window, I fear that our glorious summer is over. Due to lock down and the furlough scheme, it seems to have been the longest and sunniest one ever! However, one of the best things about Vinehall is our amazing facilities; so whatever the weather we can always entertain the boarders, whether it’s in the sports hall, on the astro or in the pool.
We are looking forward to heading back to Bedgebury Pinetum for an afternoon of gentle mountain biking this weekend.
We’re also happy to introduce our new boarding prefects Umi and David.
18th September 2020
I am delighted to announce that I have awarded Umi and David the huge honour of becoming Boarding Prefects. They have been so helpful and kind in the boarding house, embracing the school moto ‘To do our best for the benefit of others’
We have had a great week in the boarding house; everyone has settled in very well and any homesickness is now a thing of the past.
Last Saturday we took the children to Rye Water sports where they had the use of either kayaks or a paddle boards. One advantage of having such a small group is that I can now take part in the activities. Paddle boarding is now my new favourite activity; so much so that I am trying to persuade Mr Coles that we need one! It was a lovely afternoon, not too hot but hot enough for the children to jump in and out of the water and have fun.
Saturday evening was spent in our usual way, with our very own tuck shop and movie. The children have decided to watch every single Harry Potter film this term; so far they are on number 2.
After our PJ breakfast on Sunday morning we went to Chapel, where Mr Powis talked about being kind and considerate.
Carlos and Javier went fishing with Mr Powis and caught a large Carp in the pond – very impressive!
The children spent the rest of the morning on music practice and prep. In the afternoon I took the girls to the beach and Mr Coles and Miss Otway entertained the boys playing golf and riding bikes.
A perfect weekend.
11th September 2020
It is wonderful to have pupils back in the boarding house. This term we have a very small boarding house, but it is still a very happy and vibrant part of the school.
We welcomed four new children – Ines, Carmen, Carlos and Chico – who have settled into the Vinehall family way of life. Umi and Joshua returned and both were very helpful with our new boarders. David and Javier are on their way.
On our first weekend we took advantage of the weather. On Saturday morning we walked around the golf course; the children then got the bikes out and explored the grounds. After lunch we went to Bexhill for ice creams and a paddle in the sea.
On Sunday boarders enjoyed a few hours at Go Ape in Bedgebury, climbing through the trees and whizzing down zip lines. I took Woody for a walk in the forest and we all met up for lunch.
This week the children have been getting used to their timetables and the new routines, as well as enjoying more time on the bikes and playing outside.
We’re off to Rye Water Sports this weekend to do some Kayaking and paddle boarding, which will be great fun.
13th March 2020
The children were excited to be back after the exeat and are looking forward to a fun weekend of outdoor games and paintballing.
We’ve got Year 5 and Year 6 taster boarding to look forward to next Friday – an evening of fun games, an Easter egg hunt and arts & crafts. Book early to avoid disappointment!
This week the children made the most delicious Lemon Drizzle cakes. Half went down to boarders’ supper and, much to everyone’s delight, the other half was shared with the day children and staff at break.
6th March 2020
Our boarding committee have decided on some new ideas for the boarders, mostly concerned with food! The Chef has listened to their requests and everything has been implemented. These ideas included cheese and biscuits as an alternative to puddings, fruit, milk and biscuits in Hurricanes in the evenings, hot chocolate at breakfast and more salads. Our Friday night routine of hot chocolate and toast is very popular; it has also become a time for all the boarders to sit and chat to each other and staff without phones or TV getting in the way.
As it was ‘boarders’ choice’ on Saturday afternoon, that’s exactly what happened! They sensibly chose prep first, then some phone time followed by the sports hall. After supper Mr Coles took some boys swimming whilst the others settled down to a movie.
The children woke excitedly on Sunday for their trip to Bluewater. It was probably one of the most relaxing trips to Bluewater that I’ve done. This was largely due to the children behaving impeccably, returning to check in on time and being very grateful at the end of the day. It also helped that Mr C didn’t moan too much!
28th February 2020
The children returned happy and full of spirits on Sunday night. Some of our overseas children who unfortunately hadn’t been able to go home for half term were particularly pleased to be back.
The weather shows no signs of improving but luckily for the boarders they have such wonderful facilities here that no amount of wind and rain can curtail their fun.
Mr Coles should be pleased for once that we will be spending Sunday under cover in Bluewater! He has actually now admitted that as there is a new bicycle shop there he doesn’t mind it so much.
In Monday’s assembly Mr Powis announced two new members to our boarding committee, Poppy and Isabela. We had our first meeting last night in which some very helpful and constructive ideas were suggested.
I know it was a day late but we made all sorts of pancakes. Alex K had been asking for ages if he could make Crepe Cake, which I’d never heard of before. It involved layering crepes with sweetened vanilla cream and this one was finished off with chocolate sauce. Others just kept it simple with lemon and sugar. According to Miss Couper everyone devoured them at suppertime.
14th February 2020
Our boarders are so lucky as, despite the awful weather last weekend, they had plenty on offer to keep them occupied.
On Saturday they did actually brave the elements for a kick-around on the Astro. But the main attraction was an afternoon of gaming. This ranged from Mine Craft and Fifa on the PS4 to Monopoly and Battleships. We brought the weekly tuck shop forward so they had something to munch whilst playing. After supper all gadgets were put away and the children settled down to watch a film.
In Chapel on Sunday Mr Powis continued the theme of Candlemas. All the children had a candle to light from their neighbour and when we turned the lights off the effect was lovely!
The afternoon was spent in the spent in the sports hall with Bubble boys. This activity never fails to please and it’s jolly funny to watch too!!
We heard some particularly excellent news in the boarding house on Sunday morning, which was that Zuriel has secured a double scholarship to Tonbridge – Music and sport – clever boy, we’re so proud!!
Sunday evening was spent in semi darkness, as the power cut started at 6pm, luckily just after supper. We weren’t in total darkness as the emergency lights came on but the children had a lovely time playing board games by torch light.
I wasn’t particularly amused when the intruder alarm went off at 2.30am and Mr Coles couldn’t turn it off! I can now catch up on sleep as we are all looking forward to a restful half term!
7th February 2020
Saturday afternoon was a combination of prep, games and rugby watching. The activity was the Gappers’ choice so they arranged a disco after supper which was a huge success, thanks to their enthusiasm and inspirational ideas. The theme was ‘crazy and cool’ and everyone dressed up. Everyone danced, including me and Mr Coles (yes, very much Mum and Dad dancing, about which the boarders looked suitably embarrassed!)
On Sunday morning we went to Mountfield church where the children did a very good job of taking the service. Eight of them (Iciar, Marina, Kenisha, Daniel, Nono, Jimena, Poppy and Azilis) led the prayers, did the reading and explained Candlemas to the congregation, with Miss Couper’s help. They behaved really well and were a credit to the school.
We then headed down to Hastings for lunch in Pizzas Express followed by the film Dolittle, which was very good (I only slept through the first half!) Again the children behaved impeccably in the restaurant and cinema. Luckily for the children when we got back to school there was enough time to play a few rounds of Dracula!
To celebrate Chinese New Year we made some very tasty pork dumplings and duck pancakes. I was most impressed by the shaping and making of the dumplings, as none of us had ever made them before.
31st January 2020
After a well-earned rest last weekend the children came back full of beans on Sunday night.
It has been a relatively quiet week, with a few children away taking scholarships to their senior schools – good luck Izzie, Zuriel, Billy and Margot.
We have a nice weekend ahead, with one of the children’s favourite outings to the cinema and Pizza Express!
There will be Headmaster’s revision sessions for Year 8s during the week 3rd February and 10th February. There is a small charge for supper but the sessions themselves are free, so why not book a place for your child and alleviate all the stresses and strains of revision at home? There is also an option to flexi board, so no nagging and a night out! What’s not to love?
We are also opening the boarders’ weekend activities to day children. You should be receiving a booklet about these activities and how to book a place.
24th January 2020
I can happily say that all our new children are now very settled into boarding life; they have all made some very good friends and are enjoying themselves.
Last Friday we had our usual evening of games on the flood-lit Astro, followed by hot chocolate and toast in Hurricanes.
On Saturday afternoon the children had a few rounds of matt rounders in the sports hall, followed by some down time with games, PS4 and calling home. The house descended into relative peace after supper, tuck shop and once the movies were started.
We woke up to a beautifully sunny and frosty morning on Sunday, so after chapel the children played on the Astro again – they are so lucky to have this in their back garden!
After lunch we headed off to Urban Jump, where the children bounced on trampolines for about two hours! They love this outing; it is such good exercise and I just wish I felt young enough to join them!
I’d like to offer my best wishes to Izzie, Zuriel and all Year 8s who are currently getting ready to sit scholarship exams.
Now we are all looking forward to our first exeat and a good rest.
We made a very sweet and sticky Cornflake Tart, but to make ourselves feel healthy we also made some super fruity smoothies.
17th January 2020
I welcomed three new cooks to Saturday’s club and none of them had ever cooked before! We made deliciously cheesy macaroni cheese and a side salad. They had a go at making cucumber spirals and zigzag radishes to garnish the salad.
Our first weekend back was very relaxing – the children (and staff) needed a good rest after the shock of the new term starting again.
On Saturday we went roller blading in Eastbourne. This was very eventful – Chen, who hadn’t skated before, started off very wobbly but soon looked like a pro; the gappers started very wobbly and stayed wobbly; and poor Poppy had a nasty fall whilst racing against Izzie, though luckily nothing broken.
We then headed for the Chinese ‘eat all you can’ restaurant. Some of the children took this challenge very seriously!
Sunday was a much quieter day. Izzie read in chapel and Mr Powis talked to us about being kind and caring. We had a delicious roast lunch followed by a peaceful afternoon making airfix models (one of Mr Coles’ favourite activities) and painting ceramics. The weekend wrapped up with toasties, showers and nit checks!
10th January 2020
We had a staggered start to the term in the boarding house, with six children coming back on Wednesday. On both Tuesday and Wednesday night the house was full of excited chatter and it was lovely to see friends re-uniting to swap holiday stories.
We have been joined this term by Chen, Simon and Sandro who have made a great start and are settling in well. We are also being joined by Lara who has converted to weekly boarding for the remainder of Year 8.
Woody, our house dog, was particularly pleased to see the children on Tuesday night and he reclaimed his spot on the landing to ensure maximum strokes and pats!
We have also welcomed our four new gappers from Australia – Nathan Brimson (brother of Pat 2017), Archie Collins, Kate Melluish and Bella Couper. They have made a really good start and are showing all the signs of being an excellent team!
We have an exciting weekend ahead but with plenty of time to rest after this first busy week.
For historical updates from the boardinghouse please click here