Year 6

Welcome to the Year 6 page!

This is where you will be able to find the Calshot blog. It will be updated every evening by around 8pm.
The document links below are now up-to-date.

Calshot Day 5:

Update from Ringos: everyone seemed to love them. Harry (the instructor for this session)pulled all the ringos from the top of the ski slope, adding extra speed for some and extra spin for others. He was tired and a bit sweaty by the end. It was quite a work-out.

The Rushing Rockets were well-received, too. Though I did overhear one boy asking what the rockets had to do with Russia.

Rushing, not Russian.


Today started with a rush as we had to get our packed bags into one of the downstairs classrooms and all our bedding to the top of the stairs. Add in needing to get dressed an brush our teeth and it was touch-and-go to get to breakfast on time.

Guess what we had for breakfast: HASH BROWNS! It’s almost as if they’ve been reading my blog.

We had our fill of breakfast and headed off (the long way round) to the main hangar for our final round of activities. Mr Mackriell went abseiling and onto the velodrome; the other two groups tackled the crate stack and the ski slope. I went with Mrs Barefield’s group and we built a crate stack. Special mention to Oliver and Julia for working so well together in building theirs.

Then it was our flapjack-and-squash break and time to swap with Mrs York’s group, so we went and got skis on. Callum showed us new ways to fall off skis and Matilde made it look really hard to walk up the ski slope but really easy to ski down it with grace.

We had no time after that to get to lunch. It’s Friday, so it was fish’n’chips (or fish finger sandwich or vege burger). Pasta and sauce was another option.

After lunch, we sang ‘happy birthday’ to/at Matthew M, who duly blushed, and we returned to our bags because it was time to say a sorry ‘goodbye’ to our instructors. They explained how proud they were of the children and how much improvement they have seen this week in the teamwork. They have been really impressed with the children’s efforts in all of the activities and they hope we go again next year. We returned the compliments by stressing how good a job they had done and how grateful we are for their work. We found out that Natalie had given up a day off because she likes working with our school so much! There’s a chance we might see her again later in the year but I’ll leave that one cryptic…

We got on the coach. We had a different driver, back to our usual driver, Wendy, who has taken us to Calshot for that last couple of years. She was so happy to be back on the Spit, soaking up the glorious sunshine we had. She turned up 3 hours early because she likes it there so much. We tried to put a DVD on but the player was being stubborn. I had to fiddle with it while the coach as going along but don’t tell anyone. Eventually, the children cheered to the opening credits of Shrek 2.

We found a shortcut from Southampton to Basingstoke. I blinked as soon as we got on the M27 and when I opened my eyes, there were signs for the A33 and Reading. Not sure how that happened.

We saw all the waving parents as we did our customary drive-by and smiles were on each face as we got off the coach.

It was sad to leave Calshot but good to be coming home to our families.

It has been great (and hugely valuable) getting to know the children better this week. Don’t tell them this, but they have really grown on me – I almost like them. This week feels like a great start to the year and I hope it is one of many successes we share in the next 10 months.

Writing this from the comfort of my own sofa, I hope they all have a restful weekend. I’ll see them all on Monday.


Calshot Day 4:

Mr Mackriell has arrived!! Miss Smith said her goodbyes after Daring Detectives (everyone got it right this year; it was the Italian fella) and passed the baton of group 2 onto Mr Mackriell. He got here at 11pm so the children had to wait until this morning to give him an excited greeting.

We got up for breakfast (same as every day, including the waffles – maybe we’ve all been doing it wrong) and went back to the house for group photos on the beach. (It seems they have evaded my copying, so I'll have to add them tomorrow.)

Our morning sessions consisted of abseiling and cycling in the velodrome for two of the groups and Mr Mackriell took his group orienteering in the woods. He came back with the same children so I assume no-one got lost.

I was with Mrs York’s group and was very impressed that everyone got to the top of the abseil to have a look and 7 of our 9 went down the rope. They all tried to put on their brave faces but it’s a long way up. Or, when you get there, a long way down, I suppose.

In the velodrome, Amelia was very brave. She said she had never ridden a bike before. The instructors brought her a bike with no pedals so she could have a go without the added complications of track bikes. She made great progress and kept up with the others lapping the track. We could hardly get Eddie off his bike but he cut a deal of one extra lap at full speed and he’d come off. Apparently, Freddie fell off but unfortunately I missed that as I was busy channelling my inner Bradley Wiggins and tearing up the sprinters’ line. He was fine, by the way.

Lunch: breaded chicken or sweet chilli veg in a wrap (delicious!) with pasta and sauce. This time, we were able to have seconds - just as well, really, because we’d all worked up quite an appetite. Sadly, our feasting made us a little late for our afternoon activities.

I went again with Mrs York’s group to tackle the pool cross challenge while the other two groups went kayaking. There was beautiful ,warm sunshine but some strong breezes which meant a few of the kayakers got blown back to shore. A quick tow later and they were back with the group in the middle of the cove.

On the pool, the group was split into two teams. Each team built what seemed like a very strong rope bridge. That was before we walked on it…

We all got wet ankles on the first crossing but, with more use, the bridge offered more flex and we got wet knees, waists and some got wet faces when they lost their balance. It turns out Charlie is a very determined bridge builder and Jasmine is a very competitive rope bridge crosser!

We got out of our wetsuits (which by now were very wet suits) and had a shower before heading off to dinner: pasta Bolognese.

We have found out that we need to be out of our rooms by breakfast tomorrow, so we rushed back the house to pack and get ready for tonight’s events. The children are now in two groups, one taking on the rushing rockets and the other hurtling down the ski slope in ‘ringos’ (inflatable rubber rings). They’ll swap over halfway through the session. ‘Rushing Rockets’ is a science challenge where the children pump air into plastic bottles until they burst off. They aim them at targets but usually miss. We’ll see how they get on.

We’re all sad that tonight is our last night. One more session of activities to go. One more Mr Shacklady wake-up call. One more breakfast with potato waffles (no, I’m still not over it). Only 5 more runs along the beach…


Calshot Day 3:

Twilight Tudors photo as promised:

Ollie loved being Henry VIII. I’m not sure if it was the power or the 6 wives but he had a good time. Oscar didn’t want to take his dress off at the end but we explained that gold isn’t his best colour and he gave in.

I forgot to mention that the instructors told us we might see a seal swimming in the waters around us. Yesterday, while walking along the beach, Rosie shouted, “seal!” to which everyone turned around to watch two black Labradors happily walk from the sea to their owner. Better luck next time, Rosie.

Oh, and I have some news which you may wish to be sitting down to hear: no-one is missing home. I’m sorry to break it to you but they don’t want to go back. Actually, I did overhear one child say they missed their dog.

Anyway, onto today. This morning, we woke up to see a lovely red sunrise. We discussed red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning; red sky at night, shepherd’s delight, and the most important one: black sky in the morning, still night time, go back to sleep.

Breakfast: sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs, beans, toast and, yes, potato waffles. I know, right?

We came back to the house and got our waterproofs and wellies to head out to our first activity: Trawling or Coastline Catastrophe, whichever they didn’t do yesterday.

The trawlers caught all sorts: more large crabs, a couple of sole and … a squid (named Sid)! It’s only the second squid caught by Nereida, the Calshot trawling ship in 6 years!

At Coastline Catastrophe, we learned about groynes, revetments, long shore drift, swash, backwash, erosion, transportation and deposition but you know all about those so I won’t bore you with the definitions. (Start Googling now!)

Lunch: cheese and bean pasty, fusilli arrabiata (pasta and tomato sauce, in case you’re not fluent in Italian) or sausage roll and wedges with spaghetti hoops. Plenty of carb-loading today!

After lunch, I went with Mrs Barefield’s group to try orienteering in the New Forest, at the same time as Mrs York’s group. Four of Mrs York’s boys went to the wrong room to meet Becky. Getting lost on your way to orienteering isn’t the most promising start. Callum made a confident start with the map and the others learned quickly. Isla had it all under control to bring the group back to the base in time for flapjacks and squash. We finished the session with a game of ‘camouflage’, where the children had to hide in the forest but be able to see the instructor who was trying to spot them. I didn’t do very well but then a pink polo shirt and my hair colouring aren’t exactly well adapted to a forest environment. Julia and Allysha were the winners. I knew where Allysha was and I still couldn’t see her.

Miss Smith’s group went skiing and took on the crate stack challenge. She said it was the best fun and the best entertainment. They came back late for tea but with big smiles on their faces.

Tea: A full roast! Beef (or Quorn), potatoes, parsnips, Yorkshire pudding and steamed (translation: over-boiled) broccoli, cauliflower, green beans. Fruit pot or jelly for dessert.

After dinner, we played a couple of games on the beach and went back to the house. The children changed into their pyjamas because this evening’s activity is in our building: Daring Detectives. Calshot is famous for plane races when competitors from many countries would come here to compete for the Schneider Trophy. In this mystery, the British competitor has gone missing – whodunit?

Last year, most of the children thought he had abducted himself, because his fingerprints were at every scene where he had been. We’ll see what this group think in a while.

We all had a good night’s sleep last night. Here’s hoping for another …


Calshot, Day 2:

We did all have a good night’s sleep, which is very good for a first night. We woke up this morning bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Well, except for Isla. She seemed to want a few more hours. The days are long and tiring here, so there will be many more in her position as the week goes on.

We got showered and dressed. Some of the children even remembered to brush their teeth. Breakfast was bacon, sausage, egg, beans, toast and, to complete the full-ish English, potato waffles (of course). It went down very well and we returned to Houston House, where we are staying, and picked up our waterproofs and wellies to go to our morning activities. Two groups went trawling and the other went a mile or so along the coast to Coastline Catastrophe, where the children see the effect the sea has on eroding the land. The trees lying on the beach were at the top of the cliff when we came two years ago.

I went with Miss Smith’s group on the trawler. We heaved a large slippery ball of green up onto the boat and started to sift through it.  


We found a female Thornback Ray (which the children named Ray-chel.) We also found some large crabs, a scallop which inspired an argument about how to pronounce ‘scallop’, and a wide variety of seaweed. We used keys to work out what everything was and we learned about how each of these organisms is adapted to its environment.

Lunch: burgers with hash browns. (I know what you’re thinking, I assumed the same)

After lunch, we all got wet. Two groups went to the Pool Cross challenge and had to build a rope bridge to cross the pool. They say their bridges were pretty good but I saw they were soaked, so I’ll have to check with a reliable adult.

At the beginning of the kayaking session, Ella was, erm, really good at going round in circles. By the end of it, she was leading the way! We finished the session by playing kayak water polo. It became very competitive and there were many accusations of cheating. I think it finished 1-1 but what is for certain is that Eddie and Freddie fell in. Freddie twice.


After that, most of us needed a shower to wash the sea water (and smell of wetsuit) off us. Then, we headed to dinner: sweet chilli chicken with boiled potatoes, or pasta ratatouille, followed by apple crumble. The plates were cleared and despite the generous portion sizes, Eddie and Allysha asked for seconds. Unfortunately this was not possible, so they made do with a bit more salad and an extra piece of fruit.

The children have sung ‘Happy Birthday’ at/to Charlie and had a cake on their way to Twilight Tudors in the castle. It’s a tour of the Tudor castle, including a drama session where they act out Tudor tales in costume. I’ll try to get a photo for tomorrow’s update.

Let’s hope for another good night. We have another full day tomorrow.


Calshot, Day 1:

We have arrived!

At exactly 11 o’clock this morning, 29 eager children and 3 excited adults stepped off the coach onto Cashot Spit. Miss Smith got out of her car. We had watched The Golden Compass on the way down, which is convenient as it saves us an English lesson next week when we study Philip Pullman. The film ended just as we pulled into Calshot village. Timing!

First, we met our trip organiser, Richard, who will be overseeing our entire visit. He gave us a quick safety briefing and ran through a fire drill with us. The sign on the fire door which says ‘Warning: This door is alarmed’ is telling the truth – it’s deafening.

The children had to make their beds. This was the first big challenge for many of the group. Charlie’s method for putting a duvet cover on is … unconventional.

Then, the children found out their groups. We have three groups, each of which was led on a tour of the centre by their group leader. That tour ended at the canteen because it was time for lunch: cheese and tomato pizza or baked bean jacket potato. I can highly recommend the jacket! Each meal here has a couple of options, a range of desserts and a salad bar. No-one is going hungry.

Nursing our new full bellies, we headed off for our afternoon activities. We all did archery and climbing in one order or the other. On the climbing walls, I was with Mrs York’s group and saw many children show their athleticism and lack of fear. Katy got to the top of the wall faster than you can blink and equally impressive were children like Jimi who won’t mind me saying that they were nervous to begin with but conquered the wall on their second and third attempts.


I swapped allegiances at the squash-and-flapjack break (it probably has a proper name but that’s what we got). I followed Mrs Barefield’s bunch to archery. We are trying to think of names for the groups; answers on a postcard please. We’ve got a shortlist of Gummy Bares, Rupert Bares,  Pom Bares. Pooh Bares has been rejected.

In the archery range, Matthew L started very well and Oliver had a good performance but Bethann stole the show with her accuracy and beaming smile. If you ever travel to the Middle Ages, take her with you and you’ll be safe.

After that it was tea time – sausage and mash or macaroni cheese. Both were popular, as was the sponge and custard for dessert (or starter for some. There’s no accounting for taste).

We had a stroll along the beach, marvelling at the low tide and the difference from 5 hours previously. We walked along the line of what would have been 8-feet-deep sea and searched for treasure. Some found stones, some found shells (they stink – the shells, not the children. Yet.), some found sea glass.

Back in our rooms, we got ready for our evening of games. I have left the other 32 smiling faces and snuck off to the bar. That has everything to do with the fact that it is the only place on site with WiFi and nothing to do with the Old Speckled Hen in their fridge.

More photos will follow tomorrow. Let’s hope we all get a good night’s sleep. We have a busy day tomorrow, starting with a 7am wake-up call.

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