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Duke of Edinburgh – 2018

Duke of Edinburgh – 2018

Bronze D of E Practice Expedition 14 – 18 May 2018

During a very hot and beautiful week in May this year, 116 Year Students started their voyage on the Bronze D o f E award.

Before the main event itself, the students took part in numerous training sessions after school and a practice expedition in and around Youlbury Scout Camp based in Oxfordshire.    This experience helped the students put into practice, everything they’d learnt.

In some difficult hiking conditions, the entire Bronze group did exceptionally well by completing both walks across the two day duration.  The students enjoyed camping out in the evenings and produced some great food for everyone to eat.

Each student conducted themselves extremely well and fully immersed themselves into the ethos of DofE.

Silver D of E Expedition 24 -27 May 2018

Thirty-eight Year 10 students and eight volunteers travelled to Hartington in the Peak District on the Thursday after school.  The journey was long, due to traffic, but we made it there safely.  The students spent the evening sorting out their bags for the expedition, ensuring that they were not carrying enough food and clothes for three times the length of their walk!

The following morning, after a fry-up and as much toast and cereal as they could eat, the teams set off walking with their member of staff.  They were reminded of how to navigate and were left to enjoy the rest of the day as a team.  The students completed their first day in good time, and even though there was a terrifying encounter with a cow, everyone made it to camp in one piece. 

Day Two was less eventful, with routes being completed with only a few minor issues with navigation.  The groups walked around the areas of Dovedale, Ilam Hall and the local villages.

On the final day, the students completed their half routes in good time to ensure that we arrived home at a reasonable time.  Thank you to all of the volunteers who make these expeditions possible and congratulations to all of the students for successfully completing their practice expeditions.

Gold D of E Expedition 2 – 6 July 2018

On Monday morning, the five volunteers and twenty-one students packed the van with kit and set off for Snowdonia.  We arrived at 3pm after six hours of travel.  Due to the heat, we waited until 7pm to go for an acclimatisation walk in the countryside around the Youth Hostel in Llanberis.  This also gave the students some time for last minute adjustments to their routes.  The following morning, the students enjoyed a hearty breakfast before embarking on their four day expedition.

The first day’s trekking involved a challenging walk up and over Snowdon.  Staff walked up from the opposite side to meet groups at the top.  The view was sensational due to the lack of clouds.  The staff then helped the students down a difficult decent across shale and boulders, before they picked up the path down to the campsite.  Whilst waiting for the final group to appear, some students were able to listen to the World Cup game against Columbia.

Day 2 – the students walked to Penrhydeudraeth from their campsite near Beddgelert. Some of the groups were now struggling with the intense heat and needed a number of water stops and electrolytes to ensure that they were not too dehydrated.  The number of bites were increasing due to a huge amount of midges and the campsite was rife with them.

Day 3 – brought some stunning sea views as the groups walked to Dinas campsite near Harlech.  One of the groups had planned an easy day along the flat land by the estuary, whilst the other 3 decided on more challenging, hilly routes.  They all battled through some not very popular routes, resulting in cut legs to combine with their bites.  All of the groups had a much better day with their pace but some groups struggled with their navigation due to how tired they were becoming.

Day 4 – and the students had a relatively short day to walk to the finishing point in Tal-y-bont.  The students all found a last boost of energy to reach the finish point in time for a MacDonald’s on the way home.  The staff and I are all incredibly proud of the resilience shown by the students through a gruelling route in tough conditions, with temperatures reaching 29°C and relentless sunshine beating down on them.

Cricket Season Round Up

It has been another very busy season for our cricketers.

In total, 32 matches were played by the boys leagues, cups and friendlies with the following statistics:                        Won – 17        Drew – 1         Lost – 14

The 1ST XI’s highlights were beating Cotswold and drawing with the MCC.

The U17s were beaten semi-finalists in the county cup.

The U15s were 3rd in the County Premiership League.

The U14s won the County Premiership league.

The U13s were County League semi-finalists and Three Counties winners.

The U12s were County Cup quarter finalists.


Our Junior Challenge team retained the trophy for the 11th year against Henry Box.

Well done to all who represented the school this term.


Sports Leaders – Summer 2018

It has been another successful term for our JSLA and CSLA Sports Leaders.

1 May: – Year 5’s from our feeder schools took part in a Quad Kids athletics event, run by the Year 10 JSLA Sports Leaders.  Everyone had a successful morning taking part in the standing long jump, high jump, track events of 70m, 600m, relay and howler/vortex throw.


21 May: – The Year 5 & 6 Cricket event was held at Wychwood Cricket Club.  Sixteen Year 9 students assisted in officiating the games from 10.00am until 4.30pm in the afternoon.  The Year 9s were fantastic and very hot!


4 June: – Another hot morning as the Sports Leaders assisted in the officiating the Primary School Swimming Gala.  The Year 10 students were excellent, even with the extreme temperatures.


12 June: – The last assessment for the Year 12 CSLA Sports Leaders.  Visiting Year 2 students were in the sports hall, where they worked on a run, jump and a throw.  The Year 12 students had worked hard in their planning and it was a great event.


26 June: – The Year 4 event was originally planned for earlier in the year but had to be rearranged after having a foot of snow in December.  The Year 10 Sports Leaders taught the students a ‘HAKA’.  The leaders devised a different ‘HAKA’ for each school to perform and take back and show to their friends.

An Evening of Dance and Gym

This year’s Evening of Dance and Gym took place on Wednesday 4 July 2018 and was another great success. Students from Year 7, 8 and 9 came together to perform impressive gymnastic routines and creative dances in front of friends, family and staff.

The students had been choreographing and rehearsing during lunchtime clubs over the past few months and the hard work definitely paid off. The audience were entertained by performances to music from family films such as ‘The Greatest Showman’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Aladdin’.

We look forward to welcoming new dancers and gymnasts to join the team in September.

Girls Compete in Rounders Final

After winning the West Oxfordshire District Rounders Tournaments, the U12 and U13 teams qualified for the Oxfordshire School Games Finals.

Both teams travelled to Oxford to compete against schools from across the county.

The U12 team faced some very strong opposition and had to work hard in very hot conditions to prevent them from scoring.  With some strong batting and some solid fielding, the U12 finished in 8th position overall.


The U13 team demonstrated some well-practised fielding skills and worked solidly as a team to field the ball and took some exceptional catches.  Again the opposition was strong and despite a very determined performance, the girls came 6th overall.

Junior Maths Challenge

On the 26 April, sixty students took part in the Junior Maths Challenge, which is a sixty minute paper organised by the UK Mathematics Trust as part of the University of Leeds.

Students from across the country take part in this particularly tricky timed test.  Each question is multiple choice but there is a twist; at the end of the paper students lose marks for putting down a wrong answer – no guessing allowed!

Any students who do exceptionally well (those in the top 40%) are awarded a certificate, Bronze, Silver or Gold.  Our students did incredibly well, achieving the following results:

Bronze – 18 students     Silver – 12 students     Gold – 1 student




River Windrush Geography Exploration

During the last week in June, one hundred and forty one intrepid Year 10 Geography students braved the River Windrush and the heat as part of their GCSE fieldwork.

With a ruler, measuring tape, gravelometer, flowmeter, calipers and sun cream to hand, they were presented with the task of measuring key river characteristics and judging how they change downstream.

This year, students were required to measure difference in flows along the river as well as methods of mitigating risk from flooding.


Following a stop at a gently babbling brook near Temple Guiting, students were quickly ‘in over their wellies’ by the time they reached further sites downstream at Bourton-on-the-Water.

Unfortunately, due to recent pollution issues raised by the BBC’s Countryfile, students were unable to access alternative sites at Newbridge and Burford.  Fortunately though, secondary data could be used to compare the students own primary data against the two sites.

The students showed good determination to complete all tasks and with relevant data collected and collated, could draw conclusions and test their predictions back in the classroom.



Burford Retain the Challenge Trophy


For the ninth successive year, Burford successfully retained the Junior Challenge Trophy in the annual cricket match against Henry Box.

Burford batted first and scored 76-6 off their 20, with Jack, top scoring on 22.

In reply, Henry Box were bowled out for 41 in the 18th over, with great bowling from Edgar, who took 4 for 2 and Tom, who took 2 for 1.




Join us for the Gala!


Not long to go until our annual Summer Gala concert on 20 July, featuring the musicians that have been on the Music Residential as well as our Rock School bands.

Tickets are selling fast. They cost £10 for adults and £8 for students. Buy them online here
and join us for an evening of great music.

A Great Summer Term in Boarding

This term we have all been enjoying the sunny weather, with plenty of sunbathing in the courtyard, games of badminton and rounders, other outdoor activities and daytrips.

One of the most popular trips this term was the inflatable obstacle course by the beach at the Cotswold Water Park.  This trip was so over-subscribed that we had to have a second outing, by popular demand!

There have been the usual swimming trips to Carterton, shopping in Oxford and outings to the country park.  With the hot weather due to continue, we are now planning trips to go paddle-boarding and to the Lido in Cheltenham.

On Thursday 21 June, every dormitory invited a teacher of their choice to join us for dinner.  It was really lovely to sit down with some of the day-school teachers and share a bit of our boarding experience.  The evening concluded with a fun quiz about the school, won by Mr and Mrs Count and their team.

This term has been a busy one for those in Year 11 and the Sixth Form, taking their exams.  The house was unusually quiet as students worked hard revising.  Hopefully they will all get the grades they deserve from their hard work.

On the 16 June, we officially said our goodbyes to the students who are leaving the Boarding House at the end of this academic year.  The day began with a barbeque.  The fantastic catering team put together an immense range of tasty barbecued food, including hotdogs, burgers and delicious chicken kebabs.

Following this, we enjoyed activities in the courtyard, from an inflatable bungee-run to a life-size table football game, which all got highly competitive!  The photo booth also proved extremely popular with all the students.

Despite the enormous amount everyone ate at the barbeque, there was still room for a treat from the ice-cream man.

Both Mr and Mrs Kaaber gave lovely speeches, awards were presented to prize winners, and a compilation film of all the great moments from the past year was shown, bringing back laughs and giggles to all the boarders.  Although emotions ran high as we said goodbye to many of our closest friends, the evening ended on a really nice note with a brilliant disco until late.