It seems like only yesterday that the Christmas holidays finished and we returned to school. Where have the last 4 weeks gone?

This is generally the busiest term for ‘prospective’ parents and I have been kept up to the mark with a steady stream of families keen to see what Woodcote has to offer. I always enjoy these meetings and the opportunity to explain exactly what this place is all about. I particularly relish the chance to show off the school, especially the wonderful grounds – although that has not been possible on occasion due to the torrential rain. Let us hope for some fine weather as I always think that the school looks its best in the Spring.

The weather has been causing havoc not only with my ‘tours’ but also with the rugby fixtures. We have managed a few though, both home and away, and the results have been generally in our favour. The groundsmen are going to need to work miracles to prepare cricket squares for the Summer – the first ball is due to be bowled in just over 10 weeks’ time!

There has been an excellent programme of boarders’ events so far this term, which you can read all about in the Boarders’ Blog. The highlight for me though has to be the Chinese New Year Supper but I am hugely looking forward to the Karaoke night tomorrow – always highly entertaining.

We have recently hosted the Geneva English School who came over to play an Under 11 rugby fixture against us (we managed to find a dry patch of ground on which to play) and then the boys stayed the night. The Proprietor regaled them with stories of Captain Snow and his evil deeds as the local ‘highwayman’ so I’m not sure that they got much sleep but they were delightful guests and we very much hope to reciprocate the visit with an U11 tour to Geneva in September, which may (or may not) include a visit to the Hadron Collider!!

On Tuesday 4th February, Woodcote celebrated a momentous occasion – it was Mr. Mark’s 90th Birthday. Mark has been living at the school (apart from his time at Radley and a commission in the army) for almost his entire life, arriving as a 7 year old in 1931, when his father bought the school. Mark was Headmaster here for 31 years, from 1958 – 1989 and he still comes to lunch and to chat to the boys every day. Mrs. Mark had bought 150 cup cakes and so every boy in the school was given one at supper with a lit candle in it. The lights were turned low in the Dining Room, one of the senior boys played Happy Birthday on the piano and the whole school sang with great gusto. Then, on Mark’s command, the candles were all blown out, amid much cheering! To reach 90 is an amazing achievement – many happy returns!

The scholarship season has begun in earnest and, as you may have seen from our ‘tweets’, music awards have already been won at Bradfield (the top scholarship) and King’s Canterbury. We are also currently awaiting news from Cheltenham (Music) and Sherborne, Millfield, Milton Abbey and Wellington (Sport). The academic scholarships are fast approaching and boys are preparing to sit these at Radley, Harrow, Bradfield, King’s Canterbury and Cheltenham – I wish them all the best of luck; they have all worked incredibly hard to get themselves into this position but the outcome lies in the lap of the gods. I will post results as they come in.

Finally, I am off to London tonight to drum up some more business for the bus service which begins in April. Since it was first announced there has been genuine interest from London families and places on the first bus are filling up fast! We just need to livery the Tourneo in the chocolate and gold of Woodcote, and we’ll be ready to roll….

That is all.