Carroty Wood Capers 2020

Happy Campers return from Carroty Wood exhausted, exhilarated and triumphant (and EXTREMELY MUDDY!!)

On Tuesday we arrived and excitedly headed to the sports hall where we played multi-skills games, Zombies vs Humans, Tunnel ball  and did a Skipathon. It was not long before lunchtime (time seems to fly by at Carroty Wood). Vikings headed to Archery and Romans rampaged to the High Ropes.  Archery was challenging as many children had never held a bow and arrow before. It was amazing to see the progress made from their first attempt to their last. Each time improving their aim and points until the leaders made the scores “Topsy Turvy in which bulls-eyes were worth  minus 2000 and the outer white ring became +5000. We wished it was the first game we played as we would have scored so well, however with improving aim we found ourselves getting more negative numbers.  Mrs Casewell was pleased when we hit nearer the middle, even if it was worth negative points!

High Ropes presented the children with challenges that would require courage, faith, perseverance and determination. Each child was encouraged to push themselves a little bit further than their comfort zone and many children achieved more than they ever thought was possible, driven on by team encouragement, determination and desire to succeed.

We then headed to the Maze and the Low Ropes where once again team work was the focus and saw children really shining out as natural leaders and/ or supportive friends, making sure that everyone was able to succeed. MUD MUD MUD!!!

As dusk fell, very muddy and hungry children headed to Hornbeam Lodge where they then faced the arduous task of making a bed  (proving even more challenging for some than high ropes) . Ben C was awarded the “Champion bed maker award”.

Pizzas arrived and were soon devoured. Games were played quietly with our friends, a bedtime story was heard along with deliciously comforting hot chocolate, finished off with some sleep mindfulness and it was off to bed and lights out by 9.15pm.

An early start saw the children enjoying a large healthy breakfast, having room inspections and making their own packed lunches.  After a class photograph and a team Scavenger Hunt  we were led in a quiet, reflective Explore session thinking about how unique and different we all are, and that no matter what, we are special to God. The children impressed Dan, Carroty Wood leader, with their  knowledge as they were able to recall our Bible verse of the year,  “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you , because I am fearfully and wonderfully made….” Psalm 139 v 13- 14 and our school motto,

All different, all equal, all learning together in God’s world.”

We are all different and we are all unique. We are all truly special. Mrs Casewell and all the adults who supported us on the trip are so proud of each and every one of you: for your spirit, determination and kindness towards each other.

I’d like to say an enormous thank you to all the teaching, and support staff as well as parent volunteers for their help and support. It would not be possible without you. I am truly grateful to you all for making my job that little but easier. Early to bed for you all.






Seville Day 3

25 children showed excellent participation and proficiency at flamenco dancing yesterday. Ice creams helped to refresh everyone before the show that followed our lesson.
This year the show was rated even better than last year,  by St. John’s staff. All our lovely pupils were suitably impressed by the extreme skill of the professional dancers and only 3 succumbed to the overwhelming need to rest their eyes for a few minutes!

After a swift change of clothes and a rousing game on our veranda,  we made the gorgeous walk to our restaurant, winding through narrow cobbled orange tree-lined streets In the warm evening sunshine.
Seafood or vegetarian paella met with mixed responses. All ‘had a go’ and the heartiest eater managing 3 helpings (after a starter, 2 bread rolls and fizzy drink!)
Violet and Amelia L volunteered to act as our guides to take us back to our hostel and their mistake fortunately led us to the cathedral square where we stumbled upon a magical moment. A woodwind quartet were just setting up and we were entertained to Pachelbel’s  canon – just beautiful. Lexie was then recruited by our two guides and we sailed home!
Face, hands and teeth and a 10 minute read was offered but some couldn’t even stay the course for that. The previous short night suffered by Bailey with such energy suddenly proved too much and he tried bed fully clothed!

Day 3
A full and glorious night! Everyone needed waking at 7.20am.
Fully rehearsed in the breakfast routine we had eaten and prepared for the day by 8.50am so settled for a good session of great games. Who would ever have guessed Carrie could waggle her little toe at right angles and that Dylan wants to be wise when he grows up!

Then at 10.30am we were off to La Plaza de Toros for a fascinating tour and some chilling facts and figures.

We’re sitting and regrouping now, drinking tea, pleasing ourselves and bracing ourselves for the climb up the cathedral tower.

Sally Quirk

Churros Day 2 Seville

Seville: Day 2

Either yesterday ended very late or today started very early. At 2:15am I was woken by noise that I put down as youth returning from a night out in Seville. Alas, it was St John’s boys up, dressed and playing Uno. Their defence…the cathedral bell struck 6. No it didn’t, that was the quarter to 2 chime! In their enthusiasm to draw the curtains, one had come away in their hands.

Firm words saw them hop into bed and sleep until the wake up call at 7:20am.

After a huge and delicious breakfast with ad lib pastries we planned out shopping and  made our way across the Triana bridge to the market. Every child used their Spanish brilliantly.  The market stall holders were so accommodating

They encouraged and praised our efforts.  Every teacher was impressed with the children in their group. Seniors Hayes should feel suitably pleased with the teaching she’s led at St. John’s.

Our walk back to the hostel was broken with the long awaited trip to the Churreria. Photos show how well this measured up to expectations. And another first for St John’s  …NOBODY spilt any chocolate!


So, now I sit on our veranda supervising souvenir shopping after a truly delicious buffet lunch of all our great purchases. The souvenir shop owner loves us, it’s official! Impeccably well behaved children have been in and out over the last hour making considered choices and parting with hundreds of euros.


But now, now we’re off to a flamenco lesson and professional show! Update to follow.



Sally Quirk


Seville:Day 1

Everyone assembled in the school hall with impeccable timing by 6am, a best ever for this trip.
After handing in medication and wash bags the 25 children donned their tour hoodies – what a glorious sight and what high spirits then filled the hall! Farewells were completed quickly and we all piled on the coach to Gatwick.
On arriving Carrie realised she’d mislaid her purse. A call to Mrs Shrubb and her further call to the coach company and the money was located. Carrie is to be subbed for spending while here but now has to work hard to avoid the “Most Forgetful Award” Never fear Carrie, there are many other contenders in the running!
Our flight was smooth and easy. St. John’s children were praised over the tannoy for their splendid behaviour. Macushla and Tia were selected to assist with the in flight charity collection – all very flattering.
The temperature was 22° on our arrival. The sky a piercing, bright blue and the sun gorgeously hot which forced all hoodies to be discarded. After the short walk to the hostel we arranged our rooms and familiarised ourselves with our home for the next few days.
Then, some of us feeling pretty weary, we were off to enjoy our first real feel of this beautiful city. Your children really showed their appreciation of scenery and culture as we walked smartly to the ice cream shop for what we hoped was the first of many visits.
Finding the cathedral unusually closed today we headed to Plaza España then on to the park to cool our feet in the beautifully tiled shallow pool. “Can we walk about in the water” they asked. Why not thought the teachers. 10 minutes later 24 decidedly wet and thoroughly delighted pupils wound our way back to our hostel home. (Alexis could tell it would end that way and opted to stand and watch the mayhem)
A record number of showers took place, hair was washed and PJs worn with hoodies for a blow-out, delicious take away pizza supper on our veranda.
This really is a perfect base, we feel so lucky to have discovered it and to be treated as old friends by the management. The floodlit view of the cathedral has delighted one room of girls who believe it should be rated a 4star hotel!
With a busy day tomorrow we felt it sense to turn in and read or simply turn out our bedside lights and sleep. I’m currently sitting in the boys’ room on the unused bottom bunk. It’s been a struggle to sort those duvet covers – for all that is except well-trained Harry who has even coached his friends in the art. Don’t expect proficiency yet though, some of us remain baffled! I suppose the temptation to chat will eventually die down before I fall asleep.
Market day tomorrow and flamenco dancing. Who will be our flamenco king and queen we wonder?


Sally Quirk

Fire and water

How busy Year 2 have been since our last blog and I have discovered that our class love learning about history!

Last term we had great fun learning about the Great Fire of London and thoroughly enjoyed researching, designing and making our Tudor house models. Each model was made unique by the maker’s choice of design, materials and techniques. Some boxes were wrapped, others turned inside out. We painted, stuck and drew to add the beams, roofs and other details, learning from each other as we worked.

The highlight of the topic was a trip to the Kent Firefighting Museum where we explored how fighting fires has changed through history.

This term we have been learning about another key event and figure in history, the heroine – Grace Darling. After learning about her life as a child growing up in a remote lighthouse, we were then impressed by her courage as she helped to rescue stranded sailors during a storm at night, and rowing a small boat for the first time. We developed our interest in Grace’s life and boats by visiting The Historic Dockyard at Chatham where we climbed aboard ships, explored a submarine, made rope and participated in a drama workshop.









As part of our topic about the sea, we learnt to use water colour paints and investigated how we could use different brushes, brush strokes and use wax and salt to create lines, movement and texture. Our final artwork is proudly displayed outside our classroom and we have received may compliments about it. We have even wondered about turning them into greetings cards just like the artist, Graham Thew has and who we used as our initial inspiration.


As the end of this term approaches, we are keenly looking forward to performing our nativity show and have certainly earned a Christmas holiday.

Seville Day three round-up

We are all safe and well but have had a distressing afternoon today. Both Adele and Megan have had their day bags stolen from under our noses in the park. The girls have shown a truly amazing approach to managing this upsetting incident.
After a fruitless search for the bags or discarded contents we proceeded to Plaza Espana, all feeling somewhat grim and disillusioned with our fellow man.
Spirits lifted when we set eyes on the phenomenal building and it’s fountain and as every member of our party rallied round to cheer each other.

In the morning we had learnt and discussed so much concerning Spanish bull fighting. Our trip to the bullring and our guide’s knowledge had proved really though provoking. At various points we’ve revisited and re-evaluated our thinking on this traditional custom.

We ambled back from the plaza through the now familiar streets. We counted cats, pushed the now empty wheelchair and noted the temperature has reached 28 degrees. Naturally this prompted us to realise we needed another ice cream, inmediatamente! Ordering now with confidence we found they tasted even more delicious.

During free time many of our party showered and dressed for our special evening out while others simply sat and stared ahead -talking was even too strenuous!

At 6.45pm we wound our way through the narrow ancient streets to Hosteria del Laurel for our long awaited tapas meal. Adventurous food tasting at tables for 4 was accompanied by card games and general high spirits. Awards and speeches were given – what a wonderful time we’ve had! Notably we all know each other so much better and we like that feeling.

We were guided back to our hostel expertly by Isaac and Elizabeth. We settled to yet more games culminating in the Game of Snaps where the secrets of my mind reading were finally divulged. This was something of a relief and thrill for Sam in particular.

It’s 11pm and 5 expert teachers delirious with fatigue are still sitting in the corridor on the second floor. There been no noise from rooms for 30 minutes but it’s just too hard to move.

Sally Quirk