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Kingswood 2018


We have arrived safely and only had one victim to the choppy seas, which happened to be a member of staff!!!

We've all chosen our bed, watched adults make our duvets and pillows and enjoyed a lovely warm meal of lasagne or chicken.


We've now just set off for our first activities of night line and team tech.


Bedtime will be 9:30 after another activity of Scrapheap challenge in preparation for an extremely busy day tomorrow.


We should be able to send you some pictures tomorrow as well!






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Loveton Day 2

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A strange dark cloud enveloped the mountain centre this morning. The weather could not have been more different to the previous days. There was more than a whiff of uncertainly in the air, unless of course someone had left their cheese sandwich down wind.


The intrepid explorers left as the clouds cloaked the land. Mountain? What mountain? The whole 886 metres totally covered. Two other groups headed for the waterfalls/caving site and Big Pit beckoned for the others.

The waterfalls provided much entertainment for the day; some fell over at least 10 times into the water, which was warm once you got used to it. The children even used the waterfall as a slide! That was great fun. Caving was a bit ‘dodgy’ for starters, but after a while, we all got used to it and it was great. We even managed to get through the postbox – a tiny gap in the rocks – although Mr Wakefield, carrying a bit of extra timber opted for the Parcelforce™ delivery service.


Meanwhile, on the other side of Wales, trouble was brewing. The mini-bus that was at Big Pit was having a funny five minutes and was in need of a bit of treatment. The children, who had already witnessed the tasks of the young ‘Trappers’ 150 years ago down the mine, took this challenge in their stride. Did they moan? Did they whine? No? They sang! Minibus’ got Talent was born. I think that we might be onto something here!


The mountain group (nine of 6H) had the toughest task. A week of activity followed by a climb in the most challenging of weathers. Due to the powerful winds, the children started the ascent from the ‘Story Arms’, following the ‘motorway’ (a path) before scrambling up the ridge. To cut a long story short, this adventure took five hours in total. There were highs and lows along the route but again, mission accomplished!


Speaking of mission… it may have been a mission for the children, but whilst this was the first and only mission for the children, it was Miss Hendry’s SECOND visit up the mountain and Mrs Jewell’s THIRD #legsareburning #legsofsteel. Over their MANY climbs, both teachers have seen the lot! A dog weeing on one of the children’s day sack, an over confident sheep attempting to eat all the children’s sandwiches, sore knees on toes and a record 200 degree heatwave.


On our return, we all took part in the whipped cream challenge. An Olympic event that is based around an ancient Greek sport (ensuring the safe passage of ‘squirty’ cream from the end of one’s nose to one’s mouth). The girls proved to be very good at this, although striding through the mist, like an ‘Adonis’ appeared Mr Parnell, once again proving that his appointment as head teacher was well founded. Not a modicum of cream was lost in the fight. Rapturous cheers reverberated across the valleys. A triumph!

We are very proud of the children and we have spent our last evening playing Duo and Jenga. It’s been a perfect end to the week - spent doing just what we love most. Enjoying the time, spent in the company of these wonderful young people, making memories in their final weeks with us at Sholing.


I would like to mention the staff on this trip. Wales residentials always present a number of challenges and the care, encouragement and professionalism of the team has been awe-inspiring. We are all lucky to have them. The children have loved it, and although all good things must end this will be an experience that they will never, ever forget.

Fire up those washing machines, dust off the nose pegs. We’re coming home (hopefully)!

DISCLAIMER: We are having real problems with the internet. Last night’s blog took two hours thirty minutes to upload. Many thanks to Mr Langston who is receiving our reports and uploading them back at base. Photos are a particular problem and we have loads to share when we return. We endeavour to upload pictures of all however, the computer here tends to choose which ones it wants to send and crashes sending the ones it doesn’t.

What a relief! Finally, a good night sleep. I think that the mix of activities, early mornings and night games have at last taken their toll. Mr Wakefield always vows that he would never sleep through his alarm. Today was a World first.

News was filtering out from Sholing Junior School as dawn broke. A playground incident had resulted in Mr Male ripping his trousers for the second time in eleven months – and in a rather unfortunate location. We are thinking of all who witnessed this and those who are still suffering!

Anyway, breakfast was served this morning with the same military precision. A cold starter followed by premium award winning ‘Owton’ sausages (other meat tubing is also available). A further record was then smashed. Everyone in and out in 40 minutes and that includes making sandwiches, breakfast and washing up. Rumour has it that all staff will be in lycra tomorrow, just to get the edge needed to set yet another personal best.

Mr Hutchinson’s group set sail to the waterfalls. After a steep descent into the valley, we saw it in all its majesty. A massive waterfall known as ‘Lightning’. For some, it was the first they’d ever seen and what a way to start their waterfall experiences.

Crossing the river was ‘interesting’. Children resembling crabs on stilts, rocking this way and that, stumbling in the rocks coated in green slime (which we believed to be a mixture of Vaseline, oil and banana skins). Some fell in and two children then enjoyed the feeling of wellington boots filled with water. Mr H then spotted an opportunity.

Mr H – Do you know the best way to get water out of your boots?

Children – No.

Mr H – Lie on your backs and lift your legs above your heads…

Of course the inevitable happened. Water travelled from their boots in a south-westerly direction, down their legs, saturating their undergarments. The screams could be heard in Bitterne!!

Next came the caves. Not everyone’s cup of tea but we got through it. Almost all were ‘posted’ through the letter box and a number of challenges were set – all hoovered up by the children. A really full-on day. If that wasn’t enough, after a whole ten minutes free time, the kids were off swimming to sooth those weary bones. Like a scene from Baywatch, the children were watched carefully by the staff, especially Mr Parnell (#hasselhoff) who was carrying his red buoyancy aid on his shoulder at all times.

Tea on return and now tucked up in their beds. Mr Wakefield was telling them his life story and unsurprisingly, they all chose to turn in early. Mrs Jewell has been up the mountain twice already and I haven’t the heart to tell her it’s going to be a hat-trick tomorrow #quadsinpieces!!

Here’s a final, and in our opinion, best quote of the day from none other than Billy himself:|

“I have walked so much today I think my legs are going to get a six pack!”

We have pictures!!!

Sorry, the internet at the centre is really struggling to send pictures, we'll keep trying!!!


Day 2


The sound of nature? A rumble in the undercroft? Not so! The sound of the boys, emerging from their lairs at 05:30. The inevitable for the boys later on! We shall see!
An early start for the production line, buttering numerous pieces of bread, making sandwiches and preparing and eating two (yes two) breakfasts, all done and dusted by 8.30pm. Not bad considering.
It’s 50/50 today. Two groups to Big Pit mining museum and two up the mountain. After the early start, specific requests were made for the boys (especially the early birds) to enjoy a more challenging ascent up the mountain. They will sleep well tonight. 
The children who visited Big Pit were superb. It was remarked upon by the guide that ‘they were all a credit to their school.’ We are proud of them although, it is what we expect from the happy campers! We travelled 90m underground in the cage which is not for the feint hearted. This was a challenge for some, as not all enjoyed the enclosed nature of this experience to start with. As we visited various parts of the mine, including the machine engines and the horse stables, all relaxed and enjoyed the tour. We even got to visit the showers that were last used over forty years ago. It was amazing to see their lockers and real life artefacts throughout history. We all got into character and tried to imagine ourselves there – some even pretended to actually have a shower! Don’t worry though, all children kept their clothes on throughout this time! As Thomas pointed out ‘No one wants to see that!’
A brilliant experience. To end the outing, we all made our way to the gift shop! It was clear that some saw this as the most eagerly anticipated element and it was discussed that a number of parents back home would have felt the same. One child alleged that her parent wouldn’t be able to walk through the Sahara desert without buying something. Bit harsh Georgie! Some of you lucky parents may have a present heading home. Many unfortunately decided that they do love you all but they love sweets more. Sorry! 
Miss Hendry fell asleep on the bus again on the way home. We didn’t hear any snoring, but this would have been drowned out by the 2 litre Ford Diesel engine (and the noise of children rustling into their copious amounts of sweets/fudge). We are pretty sure that we saw some dribble though…
Over to our mountaineers! 
The two groups began their epic adventure from Cwm Llwch with their water, lunches and faces caked in sun cream. Speaking of sun, the only thing better than their behaviour was the weather - today was absolutely beautiful. 
To start, Luke and Charlie stunned the mountain staff with their knowledge of the natural world – especially the water cycle. Nothing however could have prepared them for the discovery of a dead sheep, and after a thorough forensic examination, all were convinced that only a velociraptor could have been responsible for such an attack.
Group 1 began their ascent with Mr Wakefield’s group hot on their heels. Meeting at the tarn, Mr Wakefield chose the path option whilst Mrs Jewell’s group took a sneaky scramble up the side of the mountain towards Corn Du (on hands and knees at times!). The girls in particular demonstrated tremendous resilience throughout; boys were strangely quiet although suspicions arose as the day passed that the ‘early rise’ may have played a part in this! Approaching the summit at lunchtime, the crawl became a slow walk as both teams successfully achieved their goal. Deservedly so, all children felt incredibly proud of what they had achieved despite the physical exhaustion! Admiring the views of the wondrous Welsh countryside, the children made memories today that will last them a lifetime. 
Caving and waterfalls await tomorrow! Hopefully sleep awaits all tonight!


After a long journey, we have finally arrived at the mountain centre. To break up the travel, we played a number of games and shared a multitude of stories. Most interesting was the ‘why my parent is embarrassing’ conversation, but I promised never to reveal any details about Evie’s Dad’s dancing and I intend to keep to my word.

We stopped at a play area close to the centre and stretched our legs. It was beautiful weather and we basked in the glory of the mountains that surrounded us on all sides – not a cloud in sight! We cannot forget to mention however, that we had to take the scenic route to Wales. Mr Wakefield took a slight diversion so we nearly saw the Midlands and not Wales at all. A few children were worried about driving through Wales as some mentioned that they had not left the country before and had mistakenly left their passport at home! 

Once we arrived, we had a tour of our new surroundings, gathered our kit for tomorrow and had some time to unpack before dinner. A wondrous feast of chicken, jacket potato and sweetcorn awaited us, all prepared by none other than our in-house chef Mr Berry. Peaches and cream were then served by our headwaiter (Mr Parnell) before we headed out on a lovely evening walk. We had to burn off our energy somehow after all!
It is now half nine and we are just getting into bed. Some of us are heading to Big Pit tomorrow and for others the mountain awaits! We will keep you updated on our adventures… speak soon 

Year 5 are off on their spy training mission at the Wye Valley.  Read our residential blog here which we'll aim to update each day (signal permitting):


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How time flies!! We've just completed our final full day and we've really packed in the activities today, especially with The Leap of Faith, our main focus today.


With scrambled eggs and bacon piled high for breakfast, we set off into our activities this morning, from buggy building, bushcrafts such as building dens and filtering water, to leaping through the air from a telegraph pole, we've had a great time.


Many of us are looking forward to coming home but very focused on achieving the goals we've set and building our resilience. 


Fire up the washing machines parents, as we have some pretty muddy gear and very smelly socks festering in suitcases!!!


We have two more activities in the morning and then homeward bound, with an expected arrival time of 4pm. If the time should change, we will try to contact you through parent mail. 



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Sholing Junior School does not permit the use of personal mobile phones by pupils on residential trips. Not only is the unmonitored use of a mobile phone by a child a safeguarding concern but it can cause great distress for children suffering from homesickness to speak to a parent whilst they are away from home, and it often makes matters worse! Any phones discovered will be confiscated and returned on arrival back at school.



What a beautiful day, the sun gods have been shining on us today and a hint of Spring has filled the air.


After a good night's sleep for most of us, we began the morning with sausages and beans, cereal and toast and set off with full stomachs for the 3G Swing and a walk down to the beach. Today, we were much more successful in our discoveries in the rock pools, with our buckets filled with crabs and shrimp.


We've really had to be brave today as well, with abseiling and 3G swing testing our nerves and resilience, with many achieving personal goals which our teachers have been very impressed with.


We've also been able to spend our money at the shop which was really been burning a hole in our pockets, and lots of exciting purchases have been made.


At lunch we enjoyed fish fingers and chips, and made our way out to the field to fire bottle rockets which was fantastic fun, especially getting sprayed with water.


After a dinner of meat and vegetable pie or macaroni cheese, we really enjoyed our disco getting all dressed up and showing the teachers how to do the "floss!"


We're all tucked up in bed and it hasn't taken long to begin snoring!!


We have Leap of faith tomorrow which is one of our big challenges, fingers crossed!!


Tuesday 6th March 2018


What a great day!! It took us a long time to get to sleep last night, mainly because we were so excited to be here and looking forward to the great activities on offer. 


This morning we work up and by 8:30 we had been fed with bacon, hash browns, bowls of cereal and toast setting us up for the day.


We've experienced the 3G swing, archery, environmental art, field games and a lovely walk down to the beach where we did lots of rock pooling, but didn't find very much!


Lots of us have been very brave pushing ourselves to the limits and supporting each other through out the activities. Our teachers and helpers are extremely proud of us and are looking forward to seeing what else we can achieve this week.


The sunshine has been out, rain fallen and now we are surrounded by thick fog, so thank you for packing all those weather proofs and thick layers.



Mission Stormbreaker: the new residential for Year 5!

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'Alex Rider Spy Academy'
Youth Hostel Association
Wye Valley (Near Wales)
March 20th-23rd
3 nights (4 days)
Meeting for parents to follow...

A Year Out and About.

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  • Sholing Junior School, Middle Road,
  • Sholing, Southampton, Hampshire, SO19 8PT
  •, 02380 447448