Our Rudiments (Year 8) boys, Common Entrance behind them, attended their annual Leavers’ Trip.  After several years together, this trip afforded them the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company within an adventurous setting for one last time.

The boys spent the week at Rockley Adventure’s Poole Park in Dorset, which is located on the shores of the UK’s largest inland saltwater lake.  Significant focus is given towards understanding leadership and team dynamics: both rounding off the education at St. John’s and giving the boys a head start for shouldering the greater personal responsibilities they will be expected to bear at their next school.

Despite some grey weather about, the boys displayed a colourful demeanour throughout the week and participated fully in all the activities on offer.  These included windsurfing, SUP boarding, sailing and raft building to mention a few.  The highlight of the week was the day sail where the boys took their pico boats out for an extended journey around the harbour.  Seeing twenty hulls, in formation, chopping rapidly through the water, with the windy conditions testing their concentration all the time, was a joy to behold.

My scurvy crew and I had to work hard to get the landlubber boys out of bed each morning.  It was good thing I remembered my handy little squirt gun, which greeted numerous boys to great effect before breakfast.  What would any trip be without some light entertainment?

Despite some unruly behaviour at the Euro 2016 tournament, our fine young gentlemen drew the battle lines on the Thursday afternoon, as they watched England take on Wales in a hotly anticipated home nations encounter.  Needless to say that the whole of Rockley Park was witness to Mr Jackson’s cheers of elation as Sturridge found the back of the net to seal an English victory.  To the boys’ disappointment, this high was followed by caravan inspection and packing of bags (one can never be too organised).  However, the evening was topped off with the traditional visit to the entertainment arcade.  I am sure the proprietors of this establishment were very pleased at our generous cash injection.  Not to worry mums and dads – we did administer some impromptu gambling awareness messages!

The last morning was reserved for some team games, all of which were in favour of qualifying times for the eagerly anticipated raft building competition thereafter.  The boys embraced their inner survivor as they clumped together some rudimentary objects with questionable confidence ready for the big race.  Large quantities of haribo sweets promised to the winners elevated the stakes of course.  The staff, anticipating visions of the Spanish Armada in full flow, were sadly disappointed at the distance covered.  However, the entertainment value was second to none.  In good spirits, the boys were glad to hand the wetsuits back and freshen up for the journey home, but not before the heavens decided to open overhead for the walk back to the lodge.

My sincere thanks goes out to the boys for their super efforts during the week, as well as Mr Hutchinson-Lawson, Mr Hennessy, Mr Jackson, Mr Arenas and Mr Pau for accompanying me and the boys during the week.