Category: The Headmaster’s Blog

Apologies for the lateness of this latest blog. The end of term has rather caught up with me as I sit in my study furiously trying to write Headmaster’s reports before the end of term Carol Services.

Much has happened since I last wrote: The Junior Play passed off without major incident. I thought the House Music competition showcased some pretty impressive talent and it was great that every boy in the school was on stage at some point on the Sunday afternoon, either in the play or House Shout. That the Reds won the competition is still the subject of tremendous debate!

The excitement of that weekend was swiftly dampened by the impending school exams which began the following week, but I am pleased to say that the results were pretty positive and it was a stroke of genius to have them a week earlier than normal, the boys being less tired and also allowing us an extra week to hand them back and iron out any snags.

A short Exeat followed for R&R before the onslaught of the final ten days. Bingo on Friday night was followed by Cinema trips to ‘Arthur Christmas’ and ‘Hugo’ (both highly recommended) and Ice Skating for the choir. We have dormitory charades tonight and then Prize Giving on Wednesday followed by Christmas Lunch and the first of our two Carol Services. There is then the Christmas (Break-Up) Supper – that’ll be two turkeys for me in one day – and finally the second Carol Service on Thursday morning, before the end of term.

Sorry – no pictures today as they take too long to upload and I must get back to my reports. The DVD of the play and House Music are available though. Let me know if you’d like a copy.

That is all.

I do hope that you all enjoyed a peaceful and restful Exeat? Miss Becky, Miss Danielle, Mrs. Knight and Mrs. Monk kindly gave up their time to represent the school at Sunday’s results show of The X Factor….and mixed with the stars!

Miss Danielle and Gok…

It has been another busy week here at Woodcote as we move inexorably towards the business end of term. Rugby started in earnest on Tuesday afternoon, much to Mr. Lyddon’s delight. Early signs are that there should be some good sides playing next term. It never ceases to amaze me just how much the boys enjoy knocking seven bells out of each other.

On Tuesday evening we had our first ever Christingle Service, performed by the boys in Juniors 1 and 2. It was good to see so many of the Juniors’ parents in chapel and the service was beautifully sung and very moving in parts. The boys had all decorated their oranges with candles, red ribbon, grapes and of course sweets which they devoured in the Junior End afterwards!

The boys practise for the Service…


Mrs. Woodall lights the candles….

On Thursday I took the boys clay pigeon shooting again at Bisley. Here, I hope (?!), is a video of a boy nailing both clays. I think it’s time for some matches against other schools. According to Mrs. Mark there was once a clay pigeon shooting fixture versus Ludgrove here at Woodcote….National Prep School Polo and Clay Pigeon Champions??!


On returning from Bisley, the afternoon was taken up with the dress rehearsal of the Junior Play. This was the first time that the boys had had a chance to perform in front of an audience and it passed off pretty well, apart from one of the ghosts falling off the front of the stage during his entrance. Without wishing to ‘big them up’ too much, the cast are all superb and this really is a play not to be missed. I do hope that you will come and watch it.

On Friday evening the man who owns the local lizard shop – Global Geckos – came to talk to the boys about the conservation and protection of these creatures. He brought with him a chameleon, gecko, tortoise and the biggest snake I have ever seen. The boys all had the opportunity to touch these reptiles and the best question came from one boy who asked, ” If a man walked into your shop wearing crocodile shoes and a snakeskin belt whilst eating a frog….would you sell him a reptile or tell him to get lost?” Priceless!

Big Snake!

I shall report back next week with a review of the weekend’s activities – Junior Play, House Music and House Shout and they will be available on DVD at the end of term, but I do hope that as many of you as possible will be able to watch them live.

Finally, Holey is preaching tomorrow in Chapel for only the second time. If it is anything like as powerful as his first sermon, your attendance would be very worthwhile.

That is all.


Good Morning! Please excuse the previous ‘upload’ as I believe it is called – I was just practising for the new blog and had no idea that it would be going live, otherwise I would have chosen a far more flattering photograph….

Last week was a good week – I went to a conference on the future of Common Entrance, attended by all the top prep and public schools and am delighted to report that all those there were fully supportive of the continuation of CE. Long may it continue.

We had a pretty torrid time against Ludgrove on Wednesday afternoon, although the 1st XI put up a good show and the Colts B had, in the words of their coach, a ‘sensational’ 5 -5 draw!

On Thursday afternoon, I took the boys clay pigeon shooting at Bisley – it really is an amazing place and we are very fortunate to have it on our doorstep – such a shame that the 2012 Olympic shooting is at Woolwich and not there.

The National Clay Pigeon School, Bisley

This was followed by a rehearsal of the Junior Play, which seems to be coming on well. I do hope that as many of you as possible will be able to make it on either Saturday 26th or Sunday 27th November – it could be unmissable!

On Friday evening, Geordie Stewart, a Ludgrove Old Boy came to give the boys a talk on scaling the 7 summits – the tallest mountain in each continent, culminating in a succesful ascent of Everest in May of this year. Pretty impressive and inspirational stuff from a 22 year old who only took up climbing when he was 17!

There were some great fixtures against Sunningdale on Saturday – the firsts winning their final match of the season 7-0, playing some really skillful football. There were wins also for all three Colts teams and a draw for the mighty thirds, but losses for the twos and under nines. These losses were more than made up for on Sunday when we took on the old enemy again, this time at Chess and Pingers. The visitors were vanquished at both – the first time that we have beaten the ‘dale at Chess for 20 odd years!

On Saturday evening the boarders took part in Woodcote’s got Talent, judged by Mrs. Lyddon, Mrs. Knight, Mrs. Woodall, Miss Chloe and Miss Katie. There were some truly extraordinary acts displaying a wide range of ‘talent’  – including comedy, singing, rapping, drumming, hula-hooping, and Rubik’s cube solving (completed in 2 minutes and 6 seconds!) The winner gave a fabulous rendition of Coldplay’s Fix You and fully deserved his prize as did the pianist and hula-hooper who finished second and third respectively – my congratulations to all who entered. I am looking forward to next term’s “Woodcote’s Got the W Factor” already!

The Winner!

Sunday Morning chapel was our Remembrance Service and once again Mr. Mark spoke to the school and parents about the importance of Remembrance but also the importance of looking to the future. We then all watched the service from the Cenotaph, following the 2 minutes silence at 11am, before normal Sunday activities resumed.

It was perhaps a little ambitious of me to suggest that this blog would be a daily occurence! However, I will endeavour to keep you posted at least once a week.

That is all.

As if I didn’t have enough to do already, I have decided to write a daily (?!) blog to keep you all informed of the exciting events that have happened at Woodcote. Watch this space and I’ll (hopefully) keep you posted….

Woodcote House School