So many ways to listen to the voice of the child…

Just a short post this week, in part because it’s been manic here in the ‘engine room’ at Claires Court. Those that have studied the art/science of Leadership in Education* will know that the most successful approaches long term don’t start or end with a clear desk.  I’ve been ‘architecting’ lots of things this month, a new induction day for Year 7 in partnership with the National Trust with a little help from some new friends at the Sea Cadets for example.   Whilst I am delighted to have some existing excellent staff in new roles, and some promising new colleagues with diverse experiences to bring to the mix, there lots of support for them going on, less ‘fun’ induction at Cliveden, more ‘Baptisms of Fire’ joining the team here at Claires Court.

Yesterday, at the Senior Schools Speech Day, Tod Muil and Camilla Slais (head boy and girl) gave a truly remarkable movie presentation, with live voice overs, celebrating the last 12 months of activity here. Their film will appear here ->  FILM  <– though not actually with me at the time of writing. Perhaps even more impressively, Todd Lindley (also Year 13 and a school councillor) welcomed Lord James O’Shaughnessy to the event with a speech of good humour and impressive delivery, recalling for this former pupil of the school a number of weaknesses seen here back in the late ’80s, including perhaps blaming me for losing his Biology book rather than himself.

In their words, indeed in the actions of so many other of the leading school pupils in serving so well at the event, they make clear that Claires Court is about permitting their pupils to have a voice and to exercise that voice as effectively as they can.

20170922_134557Today, at Senior girls, I spotted some ‘speed dating’ going on, a process by which Year 7 were able to meet with and interview Year 11 on a 1:1 basis, asking who they were and what they did, getting to know them better. By the time I entered the hall, the event was well underway, and both sets of girls were completely engrossed.  Year 11 had obviously regressed a bit, finding perhaps some memories they had on starting at Senior Girls; essentially, and really quite quickly, the girls were getting to know each other in a kind, supportive and friendly way.

Lord O’Shaughnessy summarised yesterday the approach to Character education schools ought to adopt, remembering quite well just how close our community was here back in his day, which was it must be said ‘BG’ (Before Girls).  His words were simply – “The Americans summarise it as Be Kind, though I perhaps prefer the concept of Do Good“. Little did his Lordship know that he was shortly to be immersed in the work of the Sixth Form leadership, Andy Giles and Steph Rogers (Head and Deputy Head teachers). As Mr Giles made completely clear the Sixth Form motto takes this move to Character Education to a perfect conclusion: “Aim High, Be Yourself, Make a Difference”.

Amen to that.

 

 

 

*Harvard Business Review specifically looking at Leadership in Education, published Autumn 2016 – https://hbr.org/2016/10/the-one-type-of-leader-who-can-turn-around-a-failing-school

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Back to school, Claires Court style…

Really quite a lot of people have told me just how pleased they are that their children are going back to school, partly of course because the children need to, but also because parental resources have by now been worn pretty thin.  I thought I would document what we have been doing at school this summer, particularly since A level results were published 3 weeks ago, to inform and clarify just how busy schools can be, even though apparently we have no children on site (it has been alleged – just ask Holiday Activities just how many attended each day – usually always over  100, sometimes 150!!!).

First things first. The Academic Principal takes 6 weeks of leave a year, plus bank holidays. As we are a 51 week of the year business, and every week has serious activity of one kind or another therein, I have long learned I can’t afford to be away from work and expect all things to go smoothly. Academic staff of course have closer to the number of weeks the children have on leave, but even they work for almost 3 more weeks than the children on site, because of the requirement we have to train, upskill, collaborate and frankly clear up the old stuff and renew so we can start the new year afresh.  This summer, my leave dates were Fri 28 July to Friday 11 August inclusive, with 2 other days elsewhere.  Hold on to that set of facts.

First and foremost, because of the sheer business of Claires Court, the school offices, Finance, HR, Maintenance and ground staff, Marketing and Registrar stay open throughout the Summer. Arrivals and departures slow it must be said, but we never have less than 80 staff on any one day or so at work during the summer break, and my colleagues have needs and plenty of questions that require  supporting if not answering.  Hats off to them all, our amazing all year round team that keep the business so buoyant.  Jenny and I find it no sweat at all to stay-cation, not because of the above, but finding the time to enjoy our garden, appreciate the food from my allotment is so very restful.  If this sounds like living the life of a semi-recluse, that’s correct. After 185 days of full-on work with children and adults, finding some me-time becomes  pressing for us both.

Because of the Staff work days in the Summer, we have 27 weekdays in which to complete the chosen investment in ‘fabric’ repair work. Senior Boys has undergone a complete front of building face-lift, involving some pretty serious ‘acros’ under the main first floor gable over the front door. In College avenue, a huge volume of refurbishment activity within has taken place; Miss Barlow has a new office on Junior corridor for example, and a new conference room developed from Mr Bevis’ old office, but lots more besides – despite the fact that over 400 children have spent their summer within the Holiday activities we have run alongside.  Holiday Activity staff, most notably Lynne Constantine and Anne Halpin, have developed a quite savage yet hollow laugh when colleagues ask them how their holiday’s been, because of course they haven’t had one.

The most remarkable build this year was reserved by Principals’ assistant turned project manager Claire Samber for Junior boys. 

 As building regulations change, so we must invest, and so we had planned the installation of a new fire escape come balcony for the Mezzanine on the Sports Hall, alongside a new brick replacement for the conservatory at the side of the Year 6 block. We lost 2 whole weeks to the hideous weather of later July, but today both were just about finished and almost available for use.  Many other parts of JB have had a refresh as well, and all in all, Mrs Samber deserves great praise and cheer for pulling off one of the most remarkable transformations the school has enjoyed.

On 2 Thursdays in August, this year 17 and 24, A level and GCSE students, often with parents, come into school to collect their exam results. How those results turn from big data in the cloud into individual candidate summaries for every one is a dark art of course, but includes our Data Manager (DM) logging on at 12 midnight Tuesday to the central JCQ data hub, smashing the stuff for between 2-3 hours, using specialist software that will have been updated at least twice over the previous 2 days, and probably needs a further update from the MIS provider on the Wednesday morning to sort out the final wrinkles.

Obviously, I ‘swan-in’ to work on the Wednesday morning without a care in the world, and review the respective candidate sheets – circa 150 for A level and 100+ for GCSE. Thousands of marks are combined into hundreds of grades, and after a cursory glance (hem hem) spot that the sheets make no sense to me at all. Lots of gaps, holes and otherwise lumpy bits; I point out to DM that there seems to be some mistake.  He politely suggests I might turn the sheet around, and look at the sheet with my glasses on. There is now too much data on the sheet, and what’s more, reporting examinations that ceased to exist 12 months ago. Genuine cursing and steam arises from behind the screen of the DM, and for A levels at least, a further hour of work is required ‘under the bonnet’ so to speak.

I kid you not about the alchemy required to turn data into paper info for candidates. Please bear in mind, we are now dealing with old courses and new courses 50+ in total, letters and numbers for some, little numbers and big numbers for others.  It gets worse. All the numbers and letters that mean something to the students come down on the Tuesday night, but the factually accurate stuff about individual marks for questions and papers are not visible to the teaching staff until the Thursday.  All the staff can’t know before Thursday, otherwise they might break confidence and tell the children what they got and break secrecy, yet all the subject leaders need to check though on both Wednesday and Thursday with a fine tooth comb, because stuff can and does go wrong. On both on days, wherever the Heads of Department are in the world, they log in on line to the specific exam boards for the subject concerned, check the results they can see, read the moderators’ report on their own marking where appropriate, read the Chief examiner’s report where there might be controversy, and throughout all this time keep their fingers crossed. And write to me to summarise what they can see and whether there are ‘issues’ of which to make me aware. As I live with the Head of History (we are married by the way), I have seen this year after year, and the load and demands on them just get more and more burdensome, because of course, the stakes seem to get higher and higher.

Thursday and Friday after both publication days are filled with cheers and tears alike. This year as in most years, the overall results are strong and for some, blooming amazing, for most candidates there is a feeling of the odd subject grade that got away, and for a few the odd is more like quite a few.  Andy Giles, Steph Rogers and Kim Hall in the Sixth Form are superb, and their results handout (17 August) started just before 8 am for the Y13 on whose results University places depend.  I am not very good at the mawkish hanging around, clapping hands and supporting jovially, because the sight of an old man looking excited rarely calms nerves in the young.

What seems to work for me and those students (and parents) that need a bit more help, is to be mobilised by the Head of Sixth Form when the problem arising looks one for the hard bucket. And though we get some rock hard ones, I am usually able to crack most of them I am given.  Now if that sounds grandiose, it’s not meant to; with candidates being able to trade up as well as down, Andy Giles does have some really quite curious issues to solve, and sometimes we just need more eyes on the ‘prize’ so to speak then his.

GCSE results day is much less of a terminal celebration, more of a taking stock and checking whether GCSE grades match A level subject choices, whether A levels are in the correct combination, and whether a switch to alternative BTEC courses might make more sense. Obviously some students  move on to other Sixth Forms, but we enjoy inward migration as well, providing a sense of renewal and refreshment for all. For the Sixth Form team, the work doesn’t end, and it’s quite noticeable just what a big burden they have – holiday has to be taken prior to A level results day, because it’s full on til today, everyday being a work day.

Those secondary staff lower down the responsibility ladder might escape much of the work, but most will still take an interest, turn up to see how their classes have performed, and celebrate/commiserate as appropriate. And of course of these, quite a few are beginning to prepare for the pre-season sports training to commence, Rugby and Sailing both being involved. For primary staff, as Richmal Crompton of Just William might write, they are permitted to be ‘gloriously idle’ throughout this period, because of course they have no results coming down their wires so to speak.

For primary school staff then, we reserve a very special kind of hell. Known as deep cleaning and renovation, every single scrap of their classroom has to be taken down, boxed up and put as far away as possible. This permits the cleaners (the same good people we employ in term time) to go around in a microscopic manner, wiping over with sterilising fluid so that all known germs known to man are killed. The builders and painters usually work counterintuitively to our programme, opening up classrooms sealed with ‘Deep cleaned’ signs and wreaking their own kind of havoc with white boards, fire sensors and such like. Our Domestic Bursar (DB) has his own very special kind of language to use on Discovery days such as these; he has developed a unique way of apologising to his troupe, recovering their torn-up clocking on cards, and as appropriate, even smiling at them.

Once DB declares that the school may now be considered open for teacher’, the primary staff then recommence the Herculean task of decorating their classrooms for Day 1 – that was today. Most staff at least scoped their challenge last week, many could return and start being creative, but pretty much all were still hard at the decorating lark well after 18:00 on Wednesday 6 September. That night, at 18:30, there were leadership, teaching and admin staff all still hard at the grind-stone. ID badges for students, bus passes and back at school letters, lockers and landings still being checked, cleared and made ready.

If you have continued reading this far, well done.  You are beginning to understand why the full-time office and admin teams look forward to start of the new school year – they are able to welcome the teachers back from their break, and cause them to share the load of answering calls, emails letters and such like, all with unique demands and suggestions.  After all, most of the parent queries in recent days are not about nuts and bolts, but academic and pastoral concerns to which only their teachers can make effective response.

This author reserves 3 very special privileges for his own attention.

I take a particular interest in inducting new staff, and 28 of the 30 starters were in for the 1 September for the day. This year’s newbies include experienced hands, teachers, nurses, programmers and support, converts from the City and paralympians switching careers. Teaching and working in schools changes most people for the better, a job/career in which every one can really make a difference, and I take great pleasure in facilitating that change.

 

Welcoming in the new Head Boy and Girl, Todd Muil and Camilla Slais and their team of School leaders, getting them set for their first big challenge, to prepare the picture show for Speech Day may take them out of their comfort zone, but putting the young in charge of such an operation really does mean we show respect for and value Pupil Voice. School councillor Todd Lindley has the unique pleasure of returning the favour showed to him by Lord James O’Shaughnessy, when he welcomed Todd to the House of Lords in February and congratulated him on winning the Whitbread prize.  James is an old boy of Claires Court, I had the pleasure of teaching him and pointing him in the direction of Wellington College for boarding senior school. James is presenting our prizes at Speech Day, and Todd gets to read out the Lord’s school report from way back when.

Researching and preparing the ‘Welcome back to work’ presentation to the Faculty on their return to school is my third great pleasure. Setting the tone for the incoming Academic year is essential, causing a regathering of common solidarity around the very essence of what makes our school such an outstanding institution for children, teachers and parents alike. This year, I chose to have the event filmed on Tuesday, in the Courtyard Theatre at Norden Farm, in part because it’s quite clear that attending this event for all of us is motivational, and thus in part, being able to share that set of messages to a wider audience seems a good thing.

And finally, and thanks for reading this far, where does the reward for getting ready for school come from. I started my day today with 250+ boys at CCJB, in part to lend moral support to a site that has been through the ‘Samber/Spanswick’ challenge this summer, and in part to see a lot of very ‘new’ boys start.  Looking at the gathering, from their backs so to speak, I know that those boys are incredibly fortunate that their parents have found the funds to bring them to us. When so many commentators of education worry about the growing immorality and perverse logic of school leaders, when the Professor who leads Education thinking at Cambridge talks about schools adopting strategies this year that simply ‘make her weep’, Claires Court remains a beacon of how to be responsible as a seat of learning, how to respect all individuals, whatever their ability, how to stay loyal to those same children, even when it seems everyone else is giving up, and above all how to ensure the children rise above it all, to become remarkable, secure and well balanced adults able to contribute effectively in a society that badly needs integrity to triumph.  And you read that here. And I stand by every word. As I did on Tuesday morning at Norden Farm in front of the faculty, and challenged them too, to live and breathe every bit of ‘them’, the Claires Court essentials.

 

 

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Managing reading development at Secondary level

The ability to read is central to a child’s ability to do well academically at school. Claires Court is a broad ability secondary independent school in Maidenhead Berks. We aim to recruit some 100 boys and girls per year group level from Year 7 and above, and on entry we assess each child’s reading age, as well as carry out a more general audit on their learning skills via CEM centre’s MidYIS assessment.  As parents choosing to find their child’s education with us, it’s quite clear their parents have taken a keen interest in their development through their primary years, but many talk of their child’s reluctance to read and of their concerns that there might be some underlying learning difficulty holding them back.  In short, we have our work cut out to ensure that the vast majority of our pupils have reached a reading age of 14 by the start of their GCSE courses in Year 10, when they are 14+ years of age!

To this end, we have developed a range of strategies to assist children (and parents) develop age appropriate reading skills. To start with in Year 7, every child has a library lesson a week as part of their English curriculum, and the libraries are well stocked with contemporary novels and modern factual reference books. This work is supported by author visits and book vents through the year. In addition, every child has a digital reading account providing them with a very wide range of digital books provide courtesy of Renaissance Accelerated Reader, which gives teachers the information they need to monitor their pupils’ reading practice and make appropriate decisions and choice to guide future reading and reinforcement. This internet based software gives each child regular feedback on their progress, supported by the librarians and teachers eager to give praise where due. However and he is a really big caution, silent reading on its own won’t improve the reading age of a reluctant reader.  They specifically need to read out loud to an ‘interested’ reader – we call this RADIO READING.

How might a parent listen to an older child at top primary/lower secondary child read?

Specific focus is given to listening to your child read without seeing the text.  The text can be from fiction, from a school book, from a catalogue or magazine or from that daily paper no house should be without.  Make sure your child has their reading to hand and then…

…sit back and imagine you are listening to the radio

Listen to the unfolding story and if words cannot be read, then leave it for your ‘radio’ reader to work out what word might do instead.  This might require them to read on a bit, but do be patient.

From fiction, capture unfamiliar words and discuss their meaning and usage – not too many, but enough to keep you concentrating on your job as listener.

Magazines tend to use technical language dependent upon the article – perhaps not necessarily useful in the wider context – but words, themes and issues will emerge which are worth an ‘any questions’ on afterwards – this helps check comprehension as well as keeping you involved.

The textbooks have a reading age at least age appropriate if not two years or more ahead.  They contain a technical vocabulary your child may need to become familiar with, so as they read jot down any words which seem technical and unfamiliar to them and you.  At natural points, for a break or to clarify, raise these words and discuss them.  

Papers raise issues of personal, social, cultural and moral development leading anywhere you might wish – often you don’t may feel you don’t need to hear the ‘reading’, but just discuss the emerging issues.  The lovely thing about newsprint is that this is where new words, usage and grammar first come into written use.  Spot the new words and see if they have value for your child.

Many of our families with boys in year 7 to 9 report the value of this personal time they find together.  In a world full of things to do and not enough time, with wall to wall TV and PC, internet and games machine, finding some quiet time to follow this work builds bigger and wider bridges than all might think at first hand.

The departments at Claires Court all produce secondary lists of technical vocabulary for their subject and in each year of key stage 3 (ages 11 to 14).  These are issued at the start of the year, are often reissued with revision guides and can be worked through at home to ensure each child is literate in their reading and their meaning.  It is amazing just how few words exist in the technical lexicon of each subject, so a bit of diligent attention here provides really useful support for the child, whatever their wider reading ability.

And finally – some 8 years ago I remember listening to Gary Chevin, former prison inmate turned Dyslexia researcher, working with Professors Rod Nicolson, and Prof Angela Fawcett. They had just completed his book (2009 – AuthorHouse), Dyslexia: Visually Deaf? Auditory Blind? In short, Gary’s unusual story is that he has no ‘inner voice’, and so unless he reads out loud, he can’t hear the story! This reinforced in my mind that whatever the many root causes of word blindness, even the most challenged adults could discover a love of reading and that there remains significant importance that all to be heard to read out loud and often!  LAMDA exams for this purpose provide significant extended opportunities for boys and girls at secondary level to raise their standards of public speaking up to Grade 8.

This blog was commissioned by the Independent Schools Council to inform and advise. 

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End of Summer Term letter from the Academic Principal

main-jtw

 I am told that our nation’s favourite poem is Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’. In my mind, this is a celebration on reaching maturity, a coming of age for ‘grown-ups’! It’s one thing to reach the statutory age of maturity, be that 16, 18, 21 or indeed 25, but that’s no guarantee that ‘common sense’ has arrived, or that ‘shoulders are broad enough to carry the load’.

Most will know the opening and closing lines:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…

…Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Kipling wrote at a time when a person’s gender was certainly one of the determinants in life; born into the Colonial Victorian Era, he died in 1936 on the cusp of the modern age 80 years on, in Education at least, equality and parity between the sexes is assured. The last two Secretaries of State for Education have been female, and in their very distinct ways, Justine Greening and Nicola Morgan have both shown they can take the strain, when conditions around them are tough. Of course our present Prime Minister has not had things her own way this year either; having lost her clear majority in the recent election, she is now tasked with building consensus across a range of political views. It’s quite clear Theresa May has her work cut out to keep UK PLC on the straight and narrow, given the small matter of Brexit negotiations, so perhaps as and when our planning application for our new campus goes in, she’ll still be able to find the time to give our plans for a new school campus a positive nod of approval on the way.

As parents and pupils know, Paul Bevis, our headteacher covering Nursery to Sixth Form on our College Avenue site, is moving on this coming autumn.  Paul took up his appointment as  Head of College in September 2011 and he came already as a friend of the school, having in his previous roles as Headteacher of the Elvian School in Reading and before that Assistant headteacher at LVS Ascot had much contact with both boys and girls staff at Claires Court. Paul joined us at a critical time in the school’s development; we had chosen to leave the national curriculum, and had established the school’s Key Values programme.  We had not yet articulated the learning philosophies needed to underpin the newly designed curriculum to follow, and his broad experience and deep understanding of education matters quickly enabled the school to develop the coherence provided by the Claires Court ‘Essentials’.

Paul’s passion for education also helped us become more aware that all pupils deserve stretch and challenge, not just the more able, and fairly quickly girls of all ages were queueing at his door to provide answers to the head’s thinking challenge of the week. Paul has carried on in like manner, and most of the girls in the school can cheerfully say that he has been their headteacher, one who has known them and taken a keen interest in their personal development throughout their time in the school. As teachers have retired or moved on to new pastures, Paul has taken an acute interest in recruiting staff of the ‘Kipling’ stuff, those who will accept the responsibility to meet the demands of being the ‘best school we can be’ and yet take risks and seek new ways of inspiring learning.  Paul retires this summer to move onto other educational activities not so completely driven by the school calendar and daily bell. He has made his mark quite clearly, with girls demonstrably capable of academic, sporting, musical and artistic achievement of the highest order. Even more impressive, those waiting to take over, Messrs Giles, Heywood and Barlow are ready for the challenge, each really well versed in their responsibilities. The Principals are deeply grateful to Mr Bevis for the excellence of his stewardship and we wish him every possible success in his new ventures, husband of a globe-trotting tennis journalist, grandad and problem solver extraordinaire.

Among other notable staff leaving us this Summer are Jan Price who joined in 1990 to lead our Art teaching at Secondary Boys. Over the subsequent 27 years, she has developed the Art department considerably and her students have enjoyed considerable success here under her guidance, and even more into successful post-graduate employment in the creative arts all over the UK and beyond. Her biggest help over the years has been Mavis Barber, who also is retiring after 19 years with us. Jan and Mavis leave a school that offers Fine Art, Art & Design, Textiles and Photography, and as visitors to our recent exhibitions of GCSE and A-level Arts exhibitions will attest, they leave our school with their pupils at the peak of their artistic powers!

Angela Fowke, Claires Court’s lead school nurse retires after 23 years of incredible service, duties encompassing various responsibilities such as sports coach, relationship and sex education teacher and pastoral lead for Years 7 and 8.  Angela visited me in the autumn of 1993 to impress upon me the importance of adding to the support needed for both children and adults.

Deborah Snow joined the Sixth Form teaching team in 1995 to teach Media Studies, just ahead of Mike Crawley (1997) to lead Photography in our then recently formed Sixth Form, both at A-level. Their  contributions to the academic life of the school have been both distinct (totally different subjects and ways of working) yet really quite similar in terms of encouraging creative flair and independent working. Debbie and Mike are ‘legends’ of the school, owner ‘drivers’ of their subjects, working exclusively with Years 12 and 13 as both academic teachers and personal tutors. Mike’s contribution as the chair of the student common room committee has seen many Christmas parties and Summer balls through to successful conclusion. They’ll both be sorely missed.

Other departing staff include Kate Ing, Assistant Head on the College site going to the Sixth Form at Beaconsfield High School, Hester Goodsell moving to be Director of Music at Notting Hill & Ealing High School, and both Will Ansell and Sharon Renardson off to Australia for entirely different reasons. To these and other colleagues slipping away to fresh pastures at this time we wish them the very best of fortunes in their new endeavours.

In celebrating the arrival of the summer holidays, I do give thanks to all of the staff for their amazing efforts over the past 10 months. The Principals have been incredibly well served by all three headteachers, John Rayer and Justin Spanswick as well as Paul Bevis, and their leadership and management teams, staff, administrators and support workers. The school roll closes with 1109 children and 376 staff, the largest we have ever been. Despite our scale and size, I hope that you our parents and customers will understand that next year I intend to spend even more time out and about with your children, for whom our school exists.

Hearing your views personally is also very important to me.  There were some key points made by parents in the 2017 Parental Questionnaire which I believe require me to make reply, which I do in my feedback document.  Please take this opportunity to read those responses, as they highlight many areas where we have listened to you and actively made changes, including parental information & liaison, food and transport – as well as other important information on how we continually strive to develop all our pupils whatever their age

I am looking forward to being a little closer to the ‘action’ so to speak, to ensure you hear my views and passion for the school a little more often. To paraphrase Kipling:

I can dream – and yet don’t make dreams my master; I can think – and not make thoughts my aim; I do meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.

Have a restful summer holiday as and when you can, for surely your children do deserve a break; I know I do!

James Wilding

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@HenleyRoyalRegatta – Losing the Fawley Challenge Cup, but winning so much respect.

On Finals day, shortly after 11.48 am, the Windsor Boys School defeated Claires Court by 1/2 length. Here’s the announcement of the result:

The Fawley Challenge Cup Henley Royal RegattaFinal

If you can see the small cross on the finish time, this tells you that the winners broke the course record, by 4 seconds, and so this means the Claires Court crew in coming second also broke the course record, by 3 seconds.

If you have not already watched the race on the YouTube channel, please do. It’s one of the most heroic bits of rowing by both quads you’ll ever see.  Windsor just beat Leander by 2 feet on Saturday afternoon, and Claires Court’s defeat of Maidenhead was not much easier. It is remarkable to have developed 4 quads this good, all on a tiny stretch on the River Thames between Henley and Windsor, and continues the epic traditions of these schools and clubs, to whom we ought to add the names of Marlow and Sir William Borlase too.

To the 4 rowers in the Claires Court boat, Bow Oliver Costley, Jack Jesseman, Calum Perera and Henry Osborne, all at Claires Court take our hats off to you.  We know you have worked at this event right through from the Autumn, and to have defended the title so magnificently, to have broken the course record even when bested by Windsor Boys is an incredible achievement. As your headmaster, John Rayer texted me on the day “…could not have asked for more!”

Windsorboysholdoff

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Defending our title…into Finals day@henleyroyalregatta

After a fabulous quarter final win on Friday against Globe Rowing Club, Tom Jost had this to say:

“Hi All, As i’m sure a lot of you already will know, the boys raced fantastically well yesterday to come away with a v classy win over Globe RC. Today we have a local derby on our hands when the boys take on Maidenhead RC in the semi final, at 3:10pm.

The more support we have over in Henley the better so please try to get over to give them a cheer. Failing that then you will be able to watch the race on BT Sport or on YouTube as per usual.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWgr3iWE9nc

The lads are in good spirits and it’s prepped to be a Henley classic! Ta.”

Well, as things turned out, it was a real classic, with the Artistry of Claires Court’s sculling against the scientific, athleticism of Maidenhead. And guess what, Art beat Science by a length and 3/4, and the Claires Court quad moves on into the Sunday finals, to be a repeat of last year, against another local rival, Windsor Boys.

The Fawley Challenge Cup Henley Royal Regatta

So, we’ll know the timings of the finals shortly, and I’ll post that here, together with Coach Tom Jost’s instructions for the final day.

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Defending our title…@henleyroyalregatta

HRR2016

It’s Friday 30 June, and yesterday close to 7pm, the Claires Court coxless quad beat Tideway scullers to commence their defence of the Fawley cup won last year for the first time by Claires Court.

This year’s quad consist of Oliver Costley, Jack Jesseman, Henry Osborne and Callum Perera and they looked really good after their excellent win (very easily in HRR parlance yesterday.

HRR2017

Today they take on Globe Rowing Club at 5:50pm. If you’re able to get over to Henley to watch the boys and give them a cheer that’d be great. Failing that, as always, you will be able to watch the race on YouTube. Link below….

HRR2017Globe
Good luck to both crews of course, and we hope the Claires Court Quad will make the weekend’ rowing – #CCPride
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