Newsletter – 9th May

Belinda and I enjoyed an interesting BSA Conference in York last week. Amongst the many themes was repeated reference to the need to protect children’s mental health from the relentless onslaught of testing and examination procedures, the import of which is constantly exacerbated by family pressures and social media. We also spent a fair amount of time navel-gazing in an effort to picture what Prep and Public School boarding patterns would be like ten years hence, leaving aside the continued growth of the overseas market.

We are delighted to announce that Fin T. has added a Sports Scholarship at Worth to the Drama one he achieved last term and, whilst awaiting various results, we are also sending off our final scholars to Sevenoaks for a combination of academic and sporting scholarships this week.

Last Saturday, nine of our pupils represented Cumnor House at the National IAPS Swimming which was held at the K2. In the morning, Aron H., Teilo W., Robert CS and Jack A. competed in the boys’ U12 4 x 25m Medley and Freestyle relay team; they came 6th and 9th, respectively. Aron and Teilo went on to compete in the individual event. Although Aron didn’t make it to the finals, he came 13th overall in the U12 50m Breast stroke. Teilo qualified for the finals later that morning, coming 5th overall against some very tough competition.

In the afternoon it was time for the girls. We had one relay team competing in the 4 x 25m U12 Medley. Millie F, Charlotte D, Freya K and Madge L came 9th overall. The girls’ individuals were later on in the afternoon; Olivia Cornwell made it to the finals with an impressive 5th place. Millie Fcame home with a gold medal in the U12 25m Butterfly. An incredible achievement for our talented swimmers!

On Sunday, the boarders travelled by train and tube to London to visit the annual Imperial College Science Festival. There were lots of fun and interactive activities where the college students presented the everyday impact of their research studies inviting the public to contribute. Mr Thackway was particularly interested in the demonstration making a fire vortex! Meanwhile, Cumnor parents were fighting it out at Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club on the Cumnor golf day – if you’re a golfer, please put Sunday 6th May 2018 in your diary now.

Cumnor Logistics

On various mornings this week our ‘Composers In Residence’ will be organising a different Y7 group ‘off timetable’ each day to work with one of our visiting composers. These include Ann Bailey who is a prolific vocalist and songwriter from the USA, and Alex Baranowski, a Tony-nominated composer based in London, and a graduate of Paul McCartney’s LIPA. Last but not least, on Friday we will be joined by Simon May, composer of the themes for EastEnders, Howards’ Way, Trainer, Castaway, Animal Park, ITV Seoul Olympic Theme and Brat Camp.

On Wednesday evening we welcome Nursery–Year 3 parents to the Peake for their Parents’ Evening at 6.30pm.

On Thursday we are very much looking forward to the Summer Gala Concert at 7.30pm which will include a programme of music from our Concert Orchestra, Cumnor Strings, Training Strings, Senior & Junior Wind Bands, Guitar Group, and Choirs – including Junior, Cantilena and Boys’ Choir. We will also hear performances from a selection of Year 7 & 8 scholars and potential scholars. Please join us for a drinks reception in the Theatre Foyer at 7:00pm ahead of the concert. Please RSVP if you’d like to attend.

This Friday we are looking forward to our next Open Day, something which has now become a termly event, and I am delighted to say that the level of interest in our Nursery provision amongst those coming is very considerable.

Looking ahead, one of the highlights of the school year is due on Friday 26th May when our annual Grandparents’ Afternoon takes place. The idea is that the grandchildren will have an opportunity to guide their grandparents around the school, host a special tea party and culminating with the Grandparents’ Coffee Concert. Timings are similar to previous years with Grandparents’ arriving at 4.00pm, followed by tea on the Terrace/Old Library. After tea, there is an optional tour and at 5.00pm everyone will then adjourn to the Theatre for a prompt start of the Concert at 5.10pm where the grandchildren will be performing. Please do discuss this with your children and whether you would like your child to take part in this performance. Equally we are very happy for grandparents to come for tea, their grandchildren to take them on a tour and then the children can accompany their grandparents to listen to the end-of-afternoon entertainment. If your child’s grandparents would like to attend this afternoon kindly complete following link and if your child would like to take part in the Concert please email Glen Rowlan directly on

Please could all Prep School parents ensure that their child has a House T-shirt as this will be needed for Sports Day on Saturday 10th June. Although this is still a month away, our Sports Department is already drawing up lists for the various events and it is expected that every Prep School child will be present. If there is an unavoidable reason why your child will be absent on that day, please let the School Office know as soon as possible.

Please remember that there is a PADI Scuba referral course running here at Cumnor on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th June. It is open to Year 7 and 8, also open to any parents too.

Cumnor Outings

As I write, the Year 3 children are at Wakehurst Place; no doubt enthralled and full of tales for their parents later this evening.

Next Tuesday 16th May, a few Y4 children are taking part in a Maths Competition at Brighton Prep. The young mathematicians will participate in various mathematical tasks, which may include working with dice, pentominoes, playing cards, dominoes, tangrams and counters. We wish them luck. And on Friday that week, the Year 2 are on their annual visit to Drusilla’s, widely regarded as the best small zoo in the country and right on our doorstep in East Sussex!

Cumnor Next Week

The Year 5 Parents’ Evening is on Wednesday at 6.45pm, followed by Supper afterwards.
On Thursday the Y7 children are involved in Zulu Day. Mr Timmis writes: Year 7 will again immerse themselves in Zulu culture through a series of activities covering subjects ranging from Religious studies, music, History and English. The day will be very varied as the children re-enact Zulu war manoeuvres, write Zulu poetry, learn about their marriage beliefs and other civil ceremonies, try traditional South African food, perform African dances and debate.

On Saturday, 8.25am in the Theatre, Paula Talman will be conducting a Seminar on Wellbeing to which all parents are cordially invited. This will be followed closely by the Year 4 Showcase ‘Peter’s Weather Report’ at 11.00am. We’d be delighted for Year 4 parents, and indeed any year group parents, to join us watching their performance.

Cumnor Credits

As ever, I am delighted to share our weekly list of Cumnor Credits.
CSH 09-05-17

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