This academic year our pupils have enjoyed the richness and variety of our co-curricular offering at College, in the main, untroubled by Covid disruption. Observing full sports pitches, hearing ensembles and choirs practising, seeing the CCF on parade, wishing pupils well as they depart on Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and, much more besides, was a joy for us all to witness. Our Cheltonians adapted quickly to the rhythm of boarding school life; many trying new activities and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.
The aim of the co-curricular programme is always to challenge our pupils and to encourage them to continue to persevere when they inevitably find the going challenging; we want our pupils to leave with a sense of purpose, resilience, and determination from all they have engaged in outside the classroom.
None of this is possible without the enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of our staff and I am hugely grateful for their support. This Cheltonian publication will, I hope, give a flavour of the hugely varied opportunities on offer for our pupils and what achievements they have made throughout the year.
In the final week of Summer Term our pupils enjoyed a great range of activities. Third Form spent time learning circus skills, walking the Cotswold Way, participating in a high ropes course, going to the Cotswold Water Park and engaging in a creative project in College. For those in the Fourth Form, our CCF cadets were involved in water-based Royal Navy camp (Royal Navy section), a fieldcraft exercise and canoeing down the River Wye (Army section) and attendance at an RAF Camp and the chance to see aircraft up close (RAF section); a number of older cadets attended all three offerings and gained valuable leadership experience throughout the week.
Our Fourth Form DofE pupils spent a hugely enjoyable week conducting their expedition in the Lake District, whilst those pupils involved in our Community Action programme participated in a very rewarding week at the Cheltenham Animal Rescue Centre. Our post GCSE programme involved pupils gaining their RLSS National Pool Lifeguard Qualification and spending time volunteering at The Milestone School in Gloucester. Finally, our Lower Sixth students were engaged in a House-based leadership day, a Department-specific day and three days in the Futures Week programme, which included one-to-one interviews, a personal statement writing workshop, a cooking competition and much more.
Mr Stephen McQuitty, Deputy Head (Co-curricular)
Cadet force training has never been more relevant to College. Contingent training could be argued to be one of the best ways in which we can prepare our young leaders for their future, particularly in offering real-life leadership opportunities, essential life skills and the chance to build confidence through completing challenges.
Over the last year, our senior cadets have worked hard developing opportunities for our Fourth Form cadets to test their leadership. Lara Capps has been outstanding in leading the Contingent as Head of Corps, motivating and guiding our senior cadets. She has been ably supported by Ferdie Borchardt as Deputy Head of Corps with our Heads of Section being Lila D’Erlanger Finn (RAF), Matthew Albutt (Army) and Iona Hutton (Royal Navy). Sophie Essenhigh (Army) has represented College as the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for Gloucestershire in recognition of her contribution not only to CCF but also across College.
Lila has shone in her work in rebuilding the RAF section numbers. We now have 30 cadets in the best presented section in the Contingent with regular gliding and flying opportunities for cadets at RAF Little Rissington and St Athan.
All cadets have had the opportunity to complete First Aid training courses, navigation training, Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and adventurous training and the Contingent is increasing opportunities for shooting throughout the year.
Our Autumn Term field camp saw the Navy section surfing and camping in Devon, our RAF section completing a station tour of RAF Brize Norton and developing their climbing skills and our Army section completed an overnight camp at Caerwent in South Wales. This field
day saw the largest number of cadets out under canvass in the Contingent for many years. Cadet Colour Serjeants Sophia Vivian and Lizie Birch have particularly excelled in developing the Fourth Form.
The Spring Term saw the Fifth Form and Lower Sixth climbing in the Black Mountains whilst the rest of the Contingent were tested on their navigation skills in heavily foggy conditions that did little to dampen morale.
The Contingent is grateful for the support of 29 Regiment, The Royal Logistic Corps, for the continuing support of our training, especially through releasing enthusiastic and engaging soldiers to complement our training.
Our Summer Camp took cadets to RAF Inskip for a week of shooting, field skills, adventurous training and RAF skills led by Flying Officer Geraldine Hannam.
The Royal Navy went to Weymouth to further their nautical skills under the guidance of newly appointed Sub- Lieutenant Harry Johnson. The Army section conducted three days of tactical training at Caerwent before then canoeing, completing leadership training and visiting the Defence Academy at Shrivenham.
Thirty-seven cadets completed their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award Expedition through the Cotswolds which gave an excellent insight into who the future leaders of College will surely be.
Volunteering by nature is intertwined with everything the Contingent does.
Our adult volunteers are relentless in their support and recognition must go to Major Richard Penny who leaves us after years of enthusiastic leadership including previously as the Contingent Commander and most recently as Head of the Royal Navy section. Our cadets have also volunteered on numerous occasions to support the Contingent, whether this be in supporting Remembrance Parades on Cheltenham’s Promenade orat College’s annual act of remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum in October.
With many of our cadets considering opportunities in the military, our ever-creative senior school instructor, Jason Gwynne, took cadets to visit the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for the inspiring Commandant’s Rehearsal in April.
A real highlight of the year was the Sword of Honour Parade and Dinner Night which saw Major General Capps, Commandant of Sandhurst, come and inspect the Contingent followed by giving a speech alongside the Head of Corps. We were delighted that a number of Old Cheltonians and supporters of the Contingent could attend and we are grateful for their continued support.
In terms of numbers, the quality of cadet experience and providing unique leadership opportunities and challenges, the Contingent goes from strength-to-strength. As always, it is a genuine privilege to be part of an organisation with such history and commitment from cadets and adult volunteers.
Major Will Kemp, Contingent Commander (CCF)
Army Officer Selection Board Pass: Colour Serjeant Oleander Hall
The Dowley RAF Battle of Britain Sword of Honour: Flight Sergeant Lila D’Erlanger Finn
The RIFLES Sword: Warrant Officer Class Two Matthew Albutt
The Nash Sword: Chief Petty Officer Iona Davies
The RGBW Sword of Honour: Warrant Officer Class One Lara Capps
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
As Covid receded, this was the year things started getting back on track after two disrupted years. Our Bronze, Silver and Gold programmes started in the Autumn Term, according to the ‘old’ normal and expeditions took place at Easter, at May exeat weekend and in the Summer as planned.
It was heartening to see seven of our recent leavers at Buckingham Palace to receive their Gold Awards in May celebrating the pinnacle of their achievement. The Royal Gold Award Presentations have got underway again and all students are encouraged to persist in the Award, yes for their own development, but also to participate in this treat at the end when they can receive their certificates at either St James’ Palace or Buckingham Palace.
In February, Lower Sixth took the initiative in leading younger groups as part of their field-day instruction, in the hope that teaching navigation skills embeds them too.
May saw a new venture for us as we took the Fourth Form boys and girls canoeing as part of their Silver Award on the Ponsticill reservoir in the Beacons, followed by walking in the foothills of the Fan mountains. After a surprising and refreshing frost greeted us in camp on waking in the morning, there followed a day in glorious weather on the approaches to Pen Y Fan.
Our volunteers continued to do good service with young people volunteering as student librarians, leaders in The Prep scout group, gardening and upcycling gifts and fabrics to begin our drive to address environmental issues through the Award at College and picking up the baton in promoting our drive for sustainability. Others took on good works at home, independently, and Lower Sixth contributed to College’s Community Action programme or made an enhanced contribution to the running of CCF. These complement College’s overall community programme and we hope to be able to take up the DofE Young Leader initiative when it launches in January 2023.
Qualifying expeditions followed in June and July for Bronze, Silver and Gold. Bronze pupils ventured into the Cotswolds whilst Silver and Gold went further afield to the Lake District and Snowdonia, respectively. The British weather proved fickle as always, giving us a mixture of dreary, overcast, rainy mornings, but glorious summer evenings; at least that meant a chance to dry tents and wet kit from time to time.
The Fourth Form made memories on an unusual DofE hybrid of canoeing and walking before departing for their week’s journey on the Ullswater steamer. Lower and Upper Sixth completed some of the most challenging expeditions to date in the Lake District and Snowdonia.
We were thrilled that wild camping has managed to make a return with College expeditions, after Covid. Whilst wild camping among the wider public garnered a poor reputation in 2020 and 2021, our students rose to the challenge and showed clearly that a responsible attitude to the countryside and being properly equipped makes for a wilderness experience that is hard to match.
It proved to be a memorable team-building event over four days that offered a break away from the technology and connectedness of the modern world; an experience that we’re proud to facilitate at College and which we think only enhances the resilience and resourcefulness of our pupils. We strongly urge our groups to include at least one night of wild camping (and, ideally, more) in their expedition plan. One group this year, wild camped their whole expedition and emerged after four days with, arguably, the biggest smiles on their faces of all!
Finally, our great thanks go to Mrs Kate Hornsby for her contribution to running the Award over many years. She has been a loyal supporter of the young people and we look forward to continuing to work with her, drawing on her outdoor skills for some of the residential expeditions in future.
Mr John Jones
It has been an absolute joy to return to the wonders of live performance and being in a packed Big C after the recent challenges. Covid continued to disrupt rehearsals and performances throughout the academic year, but we are very proud of how our casts showed amazing character and resilience to ensure the show went on!
Mrs Sian McBride
The Variety Show
Our year began with the long-awaited return of the Variety Show, which was presented with great confidence by Hasan Ismail and Nathan Chancellor, despite their limited experience of performance. A cast of multi- talented dancers, actors, stand ups, singers and musicians performed two packed out shows and helped raise more than £5,000 for the Shamrock School, Nepal.
A Christmas Carol
The Variety Show was quickly followed by Christowe, Leconfield and Westal’s heart-warming and hilarious retelling of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This production brought together 60 pupils from the three houses across all year groups. Special mention should be made to Geena Capps and Harry Dawson who both stepped in to save the show, after key cast members were struck down with illness.
Into the Woods
In January, we staged our first ever Scholars’ Musical, Into the Woods. It was wonderful to be back in The Playhouse, showcasing the talents of our pupils to the wider paying public. The 24 pupils involved battled adversity when rehearsals were severely disrupted due to Covid absences, but we counted ourselves very lucky when all pupils made it on stage, or behind stage, for opening night.
Pride and Prejudice
Unfortunately, Covid struck the Upper College play, Pride and Prejudice, hard. During the dress rehearsal less than half the cast were present, with both our Mr Darcey and Lizzie sadly absent. This certainly led to a lack of the necessary romantic tension. Five of the cast were never able to perform and we are very grateful to those who remained committed and stepped into understudy.
Lord of the Flies
This year’s Lower College play was an outdoor production of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Set on a remote island after a plane crash it shows how a group of stranded schoolboys go from civilisation to savagery in a very short space of time. Although their situation at first seems to have the makings of a fun adventure, their fight to survive in their environment and the struggle with each other for power reveals the wickedness which lives inside all of us. Our brilliant cast of Third and Fourth Form performers worked diligently to bring this well-known story to life, covering themselves in mud and blood and practising their chants. Cries of ‘Kill the Pig’ echoed around the gorgeous performance space behind TLG making you forget that you were not actually on the island with them
This year has been about rebuilding post Covid, and re- establishing routines and patterns. It has been wonderful to resume the mixed year group ensembles having had a year of year group bubbles. One of the great things about music is that it is one of the few activities in life where musicians of all ages can perform alongside each other, and it has been a joy to see this happening again in College.
The choirs resumed their weekly patterns of Chapel and Choral Evensong, and the famous College singing bounced back with remarkable energy. The headline events in the Autumn Term were as ever dictated by the significant calendar events of Remembrance, Advent Sunday and Christmas, and the choirs and ensembles did a fantastic job of marking these significant occasions. The choirs really enjoyed the first proper carol services for a number of years and rose to the challenge fantastically well. All three Chapel choirs sang both separately and together in the main College Carol Service.
Perhaps the most notable highlight of the term was the Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto, with the solo part performed by Henry Hiscock. As a pianist, to perform this work at any stage in life is a remarkable achievement, but to do it in the Lower Sixth is really exceptional. The orchestra rose to the significant challenge of playing this complex music with maturity and great musicianship, and the important solos in the clarinet, French horn and flute parts were sensationally delivered by Jasper Chiang, Annie Finan and Renee Cheung. This was an exceptional performance by the strongest orchestral group College has seen, and it bodes very well indeed for the future development of this flagship ensemble.
The Spring Term started with a bang as we were almost immediately into the run of Into the Woods. The small cast performed the incredibly difficult songs with great style and professionalism. The orchestra, made up of both pupils and professionals was sensational, and a real achievement for so many pupil players to play alongside adults as equals.
Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year
Huge congratulations must go to Kimmy Kwok for winning the Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year competition. This was a hotly contested regional competition, and the standard was incredibly high. Commiserations as well as congratulations must also go to Bryan Luo as he should also have been in the final, but had to pull out at the last minute due to illness. This is the second Gloucestershire Young Musician of the Year College has had in three years, which is a fantastic demonstration of the talent as well as the hard work that our musicians put in on a daily basis.
JIG performed at The Elms School at the end of term alongside jazz bands from King’s Worcester, Uppingham and Shrewsbury Schools. It was a fantastic evening, but the highlight was definitely the College band at the end of the evening which had everybody on their feet singing and dancing.
The House Singing competition, having been postponed a couple of times already, finally went ahead towards the end of the Spring Term. This was a wonderful occasion, which like the carol services, hadn’t happened for a few years.
The standard was incredibly high, and congratulations to Leconfield for their fantastic win; a performance of ‘Prince Ali’ which will live long in the memory.
The ever popular individual Singing Competition and the inaugural Fraser Graham Memorial Piano Competition followed in the Spring Term. Congratulations to the winners of two incredibly high standard finals. In Piano, the grades 2-5 category was won by Jamie Ragless, grades 6-8 Charlie Keene and Grade 8+ Henry Hiscock. In singing the classical prize was won by Keona Lau, Musical Theatre by Louise James and Pop by Bella Parry.
The Orchestra and Jazz concert took place early in the Summer Term, and like the Christmas Concert, alongside the previously mentioned JIG and Symphony Orchestra performances saw fantastic playing and singing from Jazz Band, Collegi8, Pop Choir and Chamber Orchestra. This concert also included notable concerto movement performances from some members of the Upper Sixth, and we were treated to clarinet and saxophone concertos from Jasper Chiang, violin from Petra Azazoglu, and French horn Annie Finan.
In May, College hosted a concert in aid of humanitarian charities in Ukraine. The finest adult choirs from the area were invited in addition to College’s Schola Cantorum and Collegi8. These external groups also included professional and semi-professional groups from Cheltenham and Gloucester, together with some solo items performed
by senior College musicians. The second half was a collaborative performance of the Duruflé Requiem including the massed singers from all groups. A total of £5,500 was raised through cash and online donations which is a wonderful achievement for a single event.
In a very busy final few weeks of term, one of the musical highlights of the year was undoubtedly Schola Cantorum’s performance of Bach’s monumental Mass in B minor. The incredibly difficult choral parts were wonderfully delivered by Schola and complemented perfectly the smaller scale singing of the semichorus. College was privileged to host soloists of the very highest calibre, all of them very well known internationally as solo performers. No fewer than four of these five are either current or former singing teachers at College, which goes some way to show how lucky we are to have the levels of professional experience that exist within the visiting music teachers team.
Huge and heartfelt thanks must as ever go to the amazing team of music staff, which includes academic staff, Heads of Instrumental and Vocal Faculty and administrative staff. Their versatility, professionalism and dedication is truly inspirational to us all, but most importantly the pupils.
Particular mention must go to the following, who are very sadly leaving us. Mrs Hannah Roberts, Miss Stella Roberts, Mr Dan Goodrum, Mrs Lisa Portus, Mrs Pippa Harrison, Miss Rebecca Holman, Miss Saffy Young and Mrs Rhiannon Schofield. All of these staff have made enormous contributions to the Music Department and the pupils they have taught and inspired over the years. None more so than Mrs Schofield who has been the Department secretary for the last eight years and is the vital lynchpin in the daily smooth running of hundreds of individual music lessons, concert arrangements and so much more.
Thank you for all for your time at College, you will be missed hugely.
Finally, we must thank the fantastic pupils for their hard work, dedication and musical ambition. They are of course individually absolutely superb, but collaboratively even greater than the sum of their parts, and a constant reminder of what can be achieved with ambition, hard work and commitment. Thanks in particular to the outgoing Upper Sixth, who have led with such distinction through example, dedication and outstanding musicianship.
Mr David McKee, Director of Music
The Wilson Diploma
September 2021 saw the launch of the Wilson Diploma to all Third and Fourth Form pupils. After two years of disruption, we are encouraging our pupils to take advantage of the many opportunities available at College. The Diploma aims to reward those pupils who get involved, reflect on their progress, and who embody College Core Values.
At College we aim to support our pupils to fulfil their ‘Cheltenham Potential’ by developing and encouraging them toward the virtues of Character, Creativity, Curiosity, Community and Continuous Excellence. Through the Wilson Diploma, we seek to recognise the most ‘Cheltonian’ of pupils.
OC Edward Adrian Wilson (Day Boy, 1891), one of our most celebrated Old Cheltonians, embodied the five College Core Values. He was revered for his academic curiosity and phenomenal endurance as the Chief Scientific Officer on Scott’s ill-fated expedition to the South Pole. Wilson was also routinely acknowledged for his strength of character, creativity in the face of adversity and the camaraderie he brought as part of a team.
‘Words must always fail me when I talk of Bill Wilson. I believe he really is the finest character I ever met – the closer one gets to him the more there is to admire. Every quality is so solid and dependable; cannot you imagine how that counts down here? Whatever the matter, one knows Bill will be sound, shrewdly practical, intensely loyal and quite unselfish.’ Robert Falcon Scott, Scott’s Last Expedition: The Journals.
2022 Platinum Award Winners
William Donaldson, Carys Bradford, Tristan Evans, Tessa Cross, Harry Richardson and Melissa Watson
Mr Matt Preston
This year 15 Lower Sixth students embarked on the Sports Leaders course. This is a nationally recognised qualification which allows the successful students to lead coaching sessions in school and in the wider community.
After some initial learning in how to lead sessions and some practical peer coaching to practise the skills they had learned in the classroom, the students started coaching pupils at two local primary schools; St John’s Church of England Primary School and Naunton Park Primary School.
Each week a group of six students went to the schools while the remaining students stayed in College to evaluate their sessions and plan for the next session.
At St John’s the students taught the Year 5 pupils, a class of 32; quite a daunting and challenging task. They taught them football skills, game play and finished with a round robin tournament.
The sessions were successful with College students and the St John’s pupils all enjoying the sessions.
At Naunton Park the students took the Year 6 class of 26 and the Year 2 class of 24. They started teaching football and then progressed to basketball. Again, the sessions were all carefully planned, delivered and evaluated with all those involved gaining a great deal from taking part.
The following received their Sports Leaders certificates; Rebekah Bethell, Benjamin Cunningham, Megan Dowd, Sam Eykyn, Heath Gwilliam, Isabelle Hillman-Cooper, Jonty Kimber, Claudie MacInnes, Charlie Payne, Jessica Robertson, Verity Rudin, Harvey Sullivan, Olivia Vyvyan- Robinson, Jemima Walker and Isy Y.
Mrs Kate Hornsby and Mrs Annette Poulain