Skill-Up marks the end of the Lower School journey for the Hundred. The programme delivers a range of experiences that provide a challenging and enjoyable end to the academic year. This year’s extended GCSE exam timetable looked set to scupper these plans and some pupils were sadly unable to take part due to their exam schedule. However, we were determined that Skill-Up Week 2022 would go ahead as much as possible, so a reduced programme of activities was offered and there was an eager sign up!
The week started with a bang! Keith Smith and Simon Flatres took an intrepid group of keen sailors on a yacht trip around the south coast; Martin Wright and his excellent team of tennis coaches led an LTA tennis leaders’ course on campus where our pupils had the chance to coach younger pupils from a local primary school; and Russ Tong took an adventurous group to Wales for a few days of ‘Surf and Turf’. Kindly arranged by Mark Alleyne, some of the Hundred cricketeers were treated to a day at Lords with Mike Bush and Hugo Tilney where they were able to see Old Marlburian memorabilia and enjoy watching a match. The good weather certainly made this week even more enjoyable!
One group of pupils who should be particularly commended for their endurance and focus are those who signed up to the RLSS National Pool Lifeguard Qualification (organised by Martin Shaw and run by Catherine Christopher). They worked very hard in the pool and in the classroom to learn the skills needed to master Pool Rescue Techniques, Lifeguarding Theory, First Aid and CPR.
In the evenings, there were cinema screenings in the Memorial Hall, barbeques, ice creams and ball games for all pupils who were on campus. It was fantastic to see those who were still revising for exams joining in during the relaxed summer evenings during their study breaks.
The final trip of Skill Up Week saw over 70 CCF cadets departed for their summer camp at Yoxter Military Training Area under the supervision of Sean Bate, Neil Moore and Bryony Woods.
One of my highlights of the week was joining the cookery course which took place at Vaughan’s Kitchen in Devizes. On a baking summer’s afternoon, we luxuriated in the cool air-conditioned kitchens and enjoyed the calm, meditative process of pastry making. In a mere two hours, vegetable quiches, apricot tarts, chocolate brownies and pancakes were produced with great merriment and success. Many thanks to my colleagues Jonny Newman, Orla Millar, Adam Meehan-Staines and Katie Hevingham for their help with this course. In the future, we hope to offer more pupils the chance to develop their cookery skills and I am sure that there will be swift take up.
None of this year’s programme would have been possible without the masterful organisation of Hannah Meehan-Staines and we wish her all the best during her maternity leave. Hopefully, next year we will be able to run a programme for all Hundred pupils and I am sure that that current Hundred will take advantage of the many activities and trips available in the Lower Sixth.
Acting Head of Hundred