Boarding Life at Vinehall

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.

Quelli Coles


Cookery Club 

We made a very sweet and sticky Cornflake Tart, but to make ourselves feel healthy we also made some super fruity smoothies.

Annabel Newcomb

17th January 2020 

Cookery Club

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.

Annabel Newcomb

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.


 13th December 2019 

The last weekend of the Michaelmas term is always my favourite, not because it is the last but because it’s Christmassy and magical!  I love the carol service and think that this year was one of the best – the children sang, read and behaved beautifully.

Afterwards we got the boarders’ Christmas party ready.  Games included the chocolate game; eating a doughnut with no hands; Jubby Bunny – how many marshmallows can be squashed in your mouth in one go but you have to able to say ‘Jubby Bunny’; pin the carrot/nose on the snowman and many more.  The children danced and ran around playing with balloons!

Sunday morning was very quiet as the children had a well-earned restful morning.  They had breakfast and brunch in their PJs before heading off to The Devonshire Theatre in Eastbourne.  We had great seats in the stalls and everyone really enjoyed the panto ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.  I think some of the slightly ‘blue’ jokes went over their heads – just as well but made us oldies laugh a lot!

We came back to school and the Gappers made the children ham and cheese toasties for the last time.  Miss Buckley, Miss Grundy, Mr Ryan and Mr Daley are all leaving to go back to Australia this weekend.  We will miss them; they have been great to work with and get to know over the year – and we wish them every bit of luck and success with their future lives!

I hope you all have a very happy Christmas and peaceful new year!

6th December 2019 

The penultimate weekend went very well. On Saturday the children chose prep first (!), then we all had some fresh air on the Astro followed by a relaxing time playing games or watching TV.  A few opted for more exercise in the sports hall. Our new PS4, kindly bought by the FOV, was also put through its paces.

Mrs Barrett is making Tuesday nights ‘games night’ – the old traditional board games will come out and the children will have a chance to play the PS4 games too.

Excitedly we set off for Bluewater on Sunday morning. The M25 was kind to us and we arrived in less than an hour – much to the children’s delight! As ever everyone behaved impeccably, returning to check in on time.  Mr Coles cheered up a bit when he saw there was a new bike shop in Bluewater. Everyone managed to get all their shopping done by 4.00pm when we re-grouped and headed back to school.


We were feeling festive this week so we made Gingerbread Christmas biscuits with icing and decorations. Sadly, this was Jenny, William and Miss Grundy’s last cookery club ever. Thank you for your help Miss Grundy; we will be sad to see you all go.

Annabel Newcomb

29th November 2019 

Everyone returned on Sunday evening rested and raring to go after a much needed exeat.

The next few weeks are very busy so we will need all our stamina to make it to 13th December 2019 in one piece!

This weekend we will have a quiet Saturday and reserve our energy for our annual Christmas shopping trip to Bluewater on Sunday (Mr Coles’ least favourite trip but the boarders’ favourite!)

(If you have any spare board games  at home it would be lovely if you could donate them to the Boarding House – Monopoly, Battleships, Scrabble, Cluedo, Connect 4 etc would be fun for the children.  Thanks.  Quelli Coles)

Cookery Club

Our termly pizza making was in full flow on Wednesday with lots of kneading, turning and stretching and cries of “Can I stop doing this now, my arms are hurting?”  Despite this, the pizzas all looked and smelt delicious.

Annabel Newcomb

22nd November 2019 

Last weekend Mr Coles and I were excused from any spiritual duties as Mrs Powis took five girls to Catholic Mass on Saturday, where I believe they behaved impeccably.  Then on Sunday Mr Powis took the rest of the brilliant boarders to Mountfield Church to their family service.  That left me able to go for a quick run whilst Mr Coles took Woody for a gentle stroll!

The last prep assignments were completed then the children had free time to play mat rounders or relax in the house.  After lunch we drove to the Sovereign Centre to enjoy their Aqua Challenge pool (a huge inflatable assault course).  This is an excellent way to wear out children!  Once dressed and changed the children chose an ice cream and headed back to school.

Actually the boarders were not as exhausted as I thought as they requested a game of Dracula after supper.  My apologies to the neighbours if you were disturbed by the screaming!

Cookery Club 

Jimena S and Jenny D came up with the idea that we should make Mini Oreo Cheesecakes and Summer Fruit Slushies – so that’s what we did!  I still can’t see the fascination of drinking a freezing cold drink like that on a cold evening!

On Saturday they also had the chance to make Chicken and Noodle stir fry.

Annabel Newcomb

15th November 2019 

I love the Autumn for the colours and bright sunny days but can’t bear this rain and mud; I seem to be permanently hosing Woody down!  The front lawn took a bashing on Friday night at the fireworks but surprisingly it’s recovering well.  The firework display was excellent; our Aussie Gappers likened it to a Sydney Harbour display – well done FOV!

Saturday was spent quietly.  Prep was done, games were played, movies watched and whilst it was dry everyone had an hour on the astro to blow away any cobwebs.

On Sunday Izzie, Nono, Zuriel and Daniel led our chapel service.  They talked about Remembrance Day, poppies and wars, giving us some interesting facts and figures.  They asked the other children questions and read some poems.  Poppy handed out poppies at the door!

After lunch we headed for Hastings to watch ‘Maleficent’ which was very good with amazing special effects.  Then we piled into Pizza Express which was also very good.

When we returned to school the children wrote letters home – a nice tradition that we sometimes forget.

8th November 2019  

Everyone returned from half term happy and relaxed.

The Year 8s have been excellent at settling down to revision in the evenings and were rewarded last night with an ‘extra’ movie night.  I think they surprised the governors’ meeting when they marched into the boardroom to use the TV!

We had lots to look forward to this week including Iciar, David and Alex’s birthdays!

We have a very busy weekend ahead, including fireworks, cinema and pizza!

18th October 2019

Half term has come around very quickly – not that I am complaining; and nor are the children who have been very excited and rather noisy in the last few days!  Who can blame them?

The Halloween roller disco was an overwhelming success; we had 66 children roller blading in the sports hall in Halloween costumes!  Everyone was really well behaved and very good at going to sleep (the house was quiet by 10pm) and they were also very good in the morning.   I am sorry to anyone who missed out – please book early next time!

On Saturday afternoon the Year 8s requested to watch Titanic (a 3-hour epic) so we had an early tuck shop and they settled down.  The other children watched a movie and had some phone time too.  Games of chess and battleships also took place in Hurricanes.  After supper Mr Coles took everyone for a swim and a game of water polo.

On Sunday our chapel service was about hope and choice.  The children had to pick a tree – 1, 2 or 3 – before leaving the chapel.  We then walked down to three huge, beautiful horse chestnut trees.  Two had conkers and one didn’t, so some were a little disappointed by their choice!  Anyway the children all collected conkers and came back up to the terrace to play with them.

After lunch we headed off to Urban Jump in Heathfield where the children bounced for a couple of hours!  Thoroughly exhausted we returned to school for toasties and showers.

I hope you all have a lovely half term!

Cookery Club 

On Saturday my cooks made meatballs with homemade tomato sauce and spaghetti.  The children have been pestering me for over a term to make Sushi.  Finally, I relented and went down to Hastings to a brilliant Oriental Supermarket to buy the ingredients.  The results were very professional and looked great in the bamboo boats.

Annabel Newcomb

11th October 2019

After another exeat the children returned in high spirits.

It’s been a busy week in the boarding house.   All the children lucky enough to go on the Naples trip spent the night and disappeared at 2am like little mice!

Joshua G celebrated his birthday on Wednesday with a party.  He invited Victor J for a sleepover which was exciting.

Izzie S, to my delight, was made Head Girl this week.  It’s so nice to have a boarder heading up the school.

So, that just leaves the fact that we’ve got 66 children boarding tonight for our annual Halloween Roller disco!


4th October 2019

The highlight of last weekend was Woody winning the fancy dress class in the pet show!  However, I should say it was thanks to Izzie and Azilis for being so clever and not only dressing up as The Lion, The Witch and The wardrobe but also making the wardrobe!

The boarders always love the pet show and this year didn’t disappoint; every time I looked around I saw boarders with different dogs on the end of leads.  The cake stall was a hot favourite with the children!

Once all the visitors and their four-legged friends went home, the boarders settled into the usual Saturday routine, culminating in tuck shop and movie for most.  A little later there seemed to be a new craze emerging – chess.  Boarders were challenging gappers and the competition heated up!

On Sunday we took the children ten-pin bowling in Eastbourne; afterwards, as we are so democratic, we gave them options – McDonalds or KFC!  It was a 50/50 split, my bus going to McDs and Mr Coles’ bus going to KFC.

Happy and full we returned to school for showers, nit check and bed!

During the week the boarders joined the book fair and on Tuesday night gymnastics practice in the girls’ dorm was followed by a few chapters from Beaver Towers, much to the girls’ delight.

Cookery Club 

The children made some extremely tasty Spare Ribs with BBQ sauce and Vegetable Fried Rice this week.

Annabel Newcomb

27th September 2019 

After a much needed exeat, the children returned in good spirits and very excited to see each other.

After a very successful taster boarding week for Year 8s, our numbers are already increasing.  Our next exciting event in the boarding house is the annual Halloween roller disco – beds have been going like hot cakes and I have only three beds left!

This week I will be rewarding everyone with extra tuck on Saturday as the white board which usually displays ‘early beds’ and ‘boarding strikes’ is pleasantly blank!  We have got such a lovely group of children who are all utterly charming and well-behaved.

We are looking forward to a fun weekend ahead.  I’ll be washing, brushing and polishing Woody in preparation for the pet show on Saturday!

20th September 2019

The boarding house has been very busy this week, with extra Year 8s sampling a full week of boarding.  I hope that the children (and parents) can see the wonderful benefits of weekly boarding – prep is done, fun is had, friendships are strengthened and confidence and independence have grown!

Having mentioned the benefits of weekly boarding, I constantly hear that the weekends are the best!  Last weekend was no exception.  We had planned Battlezone and ‘eat all you can’ Chinese for Saturday, which all went well and according to plan.  It was a lovely day – Hastings looked pretty and the sea was flat calm and blue!  The children behaved immaculately and were congratulated on their manners at the restaurant.  I would like to add that this group of boarders are excellent at thanking the boarding staff after trips and activities, which is always heart-warming!

On Sunday, another beautiful day, we went to Catsfield Church to their family service, where again the children were as good as gold.  After this and some lunch we put the vote to the children – beach and ice cream or games at school; obviously the first choice won.  So off we went to Bexhill, where most children and staff went for a swim, followed by ice cream!

With still more energy to burn we returned to school where the children played outside before and after supper.

We now have our first exeat to enjoy – I think the children have all earned a welcome rest.

13th September 2019

I am pleased to report that we have a very happy boarding house, as everyone has settled in really well.

I have appointed four boarders to a new committee – Izzie, Azilis, Nono and Curtis.  The committee will represent the rest of the boarders, help with activities and put forward ideas and suggestions; they will look after our younger boarders, undertake duties and be generally helpful around the house.  I am certain they will rise to the challenge!

We spent last Saturday at Rye Windsurfing Centre; although the weather wasn’t that great, the children had a wonderful time.  They all had a go at sailing, windsurfing and paddle boarding.  We were very well looked after by Richard Sawyer (Vine 2014), and his mother Jenny cooked our delicious BBQ lunch.

Once back at school we had supper and opened our tuck shop, to the delight of our new friends!  Then everyone settled down to a film.

Sunday was very relaxed.  After a PJ breakfast and Chapel, the children pretty much chose what they wanted to do.  This was a mix of cycling, football, chilling in Hurricanes and a new game that Azilis taught the girls (not sure if it had a name!)

We are looking forward to another busy but relaxing and enjoyable weekend ahead.

6th September 2019

We had a steady flow of boarders returning from Wednesday from around 2pm through to Thursday afternoon.  It is lovely to welcome new and old boarders back into our extended family.  Within a few hours I could see new friendships blossoming.

We have been joined by Poppy, Eleanore, Marina, Isabela, Changi, David, Gustave, Umi, Iciar, Joshua and Jemina.

We had our supper around a large table in the Boardroom as a treat and Chef joined us to ask the children what their favourite meals are – he wants to plan a menu to suit their tastes.

The boys are very lucky to have a new state of the art washroom with masses of showers and very trendy Dyson hand dryers!

It’s lovely that the sun is shining still and the boarders can play outside after school.  The bikes are still very popular *

We’ve got a lovely day planned for Saturday at Rye Watersports – windsurfing, sailing, paddle boarding, BBQ lunch; and fingers crossed the weather holds.

More news and pictures next week.

*Any unwanted bikes, (even if they are in need of attention/servicing) would be very gratefully received! Please clear your garages…!


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