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Newsletter December 2016

The Christmas leopard pictured above and the star at the end of this newsletter were designed by Harry Malt (Year 8) and Ruairi Garrett (Year 10) respectively. These wonderful drawings have been used for the Skinners’ Christmas Card this year: well done to both of them. As Christmas approaches, our best wishes to the 27 Year 13 students who have attended interviews at Oxford or Cambridge in the past week or so, and our congratulations to the U14 rugby team who won the Kent Cup on Monday. There is much more news inside this newsletter. Best wishes to all in the Skinners’ community for Christmas and the New Year. Edward Wesson

Four SNCOs and six JNCOs from the CCF visited the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in the final week of this term. We were invited by an old boy of the school and Major James Cackett, who is currently serving with the Royal Engineers, and works as company commander at Sandhurst. Major Cackett gave us a tour of New College and further into Old College. Inside Old College Major Cackett told us of his journey from Skinners’ through his time at Sandhurst as an officer cadet, to his current position as a company commander at Sandhurst. Following our various questions about the course at Sandhurst and his various medals, we were shown the history room which was full of old uniforms, paintings and sketches from former cadets at Sandhurst. Then we moved outside to our seats for the Commandant's parade, a full dress rehearsal of the final Sovereign’s commissioning parade for soon to be commissioned officers. This parade consisted of many complex drill movements, such as marching of the colours, full slow and quick march of each company and the Sovereign’s platoon. Among the officer cadets were Tom Gladstone, Head Boy from 2011-12, who was days away from commissioning and Simon Powderham, old boy and officer cadet mid-way through his officer training. After the parade we had the opportunity to ask O/Cdt Powderham about his experience of training at Sandhurst. A real eye-opener for all ten of us that visited the Royal Military Academy.

On Monday 12th December, Skinners' U14 rugby team made their way to Gravesend RFC to contest the Kent Cup Final against Langley Park School for Boys - a team who hadn't lost a game all year and had defeated us and the likes of Judd and Whitgift this season. It would be the first time the team had played under floodlights and would go into the game as the underdogs, a tag the boys seemed to relish. As the referee blew his whistle for the start of the game, Skinners' looked composed and assured. Soaking up early pressure from Langley, the boys slowly worked their way into the final, making tackle after tackle and eventually easing the pressure from a penalty conceded due to sheer hard work and grit. As the first half went on, both sides had chances, with James Challingsworth hitting the post from a penalty. Five minutes later Skinners' were awarded another penalty 10 metres out. Barney Stone tapped and passed to Harry Stafford who steamrolled his way over the line for the first points of the final, and Challingsworth converted the conversion to make it 70 to Skinners' at half time.

The second half was down to which team was most hungry for success. Skinners’ piled on the pressure

and we had another two chances with some great turnover work from Rafael Johnstone, and Sheng Hui Ru almost getting over in the corner. The ref blew the final whistle and Skinners' were crowned Kent Champions, a truly outstanding performance and the best defensive performance Mr Watts has witnessed from a Skinners' team. Huge congratulations to all the players involved in the cup run, an amazing achievement from the entire squad. Hard work and desire to win proved the difference between the two sides and the deserved tag of KENT CHAMPIONS!!!!

SQUAD - Russell Pooley, Oliver Tizzard, Harry Stafford, Daniel Newman, Rafael Johnstone, Horatio Blackman, Reuben Edwards (Vice-Capt), Patrick Bilham, Barney Stone, James Challingsworth, Lance Abbott, Benjamin Dufty (Capt), Jackson Hamilton, Sheng Rui Hu, Max Johnston, Jamie Wildman, Charlie Le Page, Benjamin Averill, Harry Child, Euan Symonds, Matt Clare, Kody Bradbury

HMUN STUDENTS VISIT LONDON On the 6th December, 28 students in Year 12, accompanied by Mr Coltella and Mrs Charvat, visited the Embassies of the two countries we will represent at the Harvard Model United Nations Conference, Russia and Pakistan. The visit enabled us to gain a better insight into the positions our countries would take on the topics we will be exploring in Boston in January. Our first stop was the Russian Embassy, adjacent to Kensington Palace. There we were met by their press officer Alexander Novikov and were later joined by the Embassy’s Head of Foreign Policy, Counsellor Denis Temnikov. Ushered into an exquisitely ornate room, the senior Russian diplomats fielded our, at times, somewhat ridiculously specific questions about both Russian domestic and foreign policy. Our topics ranged from capacity building in failing states to combating antimicrobial resistance and it was incredible to see how they were able to provide some compelling positions that we might have not well previously considered.

The afternoon brought with it a visit to the High Commission of Pakistan in Knightsbridge: their largest diplomatic mission in the world. We were greeted here by the Deputy High Commissioner, Dr Israr Hussain and other senior diplomats. We were stunned that they had researched and delivered a fantastic speech on all the issues that we were discussing as Pakistan: Drug Trafficking, Safety in Nuclear Power Plants, even Law in Outer Space. We then broke for a Pakistani tea: samosas and cake, having the opportunity to quiz their diplomats in more detail about our topic areas and their experiences in international relations. This was an invaluable opportunity for us, one which, unless we enter diplomacy, we will likely never experience again. Whilst the information garnered would be of invaluable significance when participating in the HMUN conference in January, to meet these high ranking officials from very different parts of the world, seeing a different point of view put forward, was an opportunity we will be unlikely to forget. Harry Regan – Head Delegate

Our visit has been mentioned on the Russian Embassy Facebook page – click the link below to read the article in English and Russian.

Many of the A Level geographers have continued to attend lectures put on by the local branch of the Geographical Association. Lectures have now ended until next autumn when

there will be a new set of topical lectures focused on aspects of the A level Geography specification. These have been very useful for giving case studies and further depth to their studies. Lectures have been by speakers from various London universities this year. Christopher Adams


This year’s Model United Nations General Assembly took place on Friday 25th November. Skinners' sent pupils from Year 11 and the Sixth Form in three teams, and provided two chairs and two press officers for the annual MUNGA at the Town Hall. They had been preparing for the last couple of months representing three countries - USA, Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia on committees for women's

issues, conflict and migration. Skinners’ students competed very well against other local schools. Whilst TWGGS got the lion's share of the plaudits, Jon Coomber was commended for his role on the conflict committee for the US. Christopher Adams

CHESS CHALLENGE Skinners' hosted the ECF Junior Team chess challenge regional final here on Friday 2 December. Ten schools participated and our A team -Giovanni Currah, Efe Shimwell, Ben Barton and Lorcan Pritchard won the event and are through to the National Finals to be held at Hertford College, Oxford in April 2017. Our other two teams played very well too, with our B team Koram Al-Robaie, Luke Peters, Matthew Hoy and Ettienne Lawrence placed third overall. A great achievement. Jacqui Charvat

HEAL WEEK HEAL week saw Skinners' welcome the Navy to run team building and physical sessions with Years 10 and 11 students. The highlight of the week for all the students was the inflatable Last Man Standing. Students had to jump over an inflatable arm with a varying success, much to the amusement of spectators. Steve Higgins


Ben Masters recently took part in the 2016 Kent Young Chef Finals. The eight finalists: four Junior and four Senior, took part in the live final on Wednesday 16th November. The four Kent based Judges, led by celebrity chef Richard Phillips had the arduous task of selecting the winners in what proved to be a very closely matched competition with incredibly high standards from all the finalists. Although Ben was not selected as a winner, he was awarded a professional quality utility knife, a certificate of excellence and will spend a day working in the kitchen of one of Kent's leading fine restaurants. Rebekah Spencer

Congratulations to the Junior Swimming team of Dan Brice, Alex Turton, Ben Strebel and Ben Fearon who qualified for the English Schools' Swimming Association's National Finals, held at the 2012 Olympic Venue, the London Aquatics Centre, on 19th November. In the Medley Relay, the boys' improved on their qualifying ranking to finish a creditable 15th, narrowly missing out on the final. In the freestyle relay, the team took an impressive 2 seconds off their qualifying time, to finish in 20th place nationally overall in a time of 2 minutes, 5 seconds.

Year 9 Historians travelled to Ypres in November as part of their study of WW1, visiting trenches, museums and cemeteries in a poignant day. Marcus Purse is pictured next to the name of a relative whose death is recorded on the Menin Gate in Ypres.

KENT CROSS COUNTRY LEAGUE In their first race since the tragic death of two young distance runners whilst on a training run in Aldershot, Kent runners wore black ribbons in solidarity. In the race at Danson Park, Bexleyheath, Saturday 26th November 2016 itself, James Puxty gained 1st ,place, Dan Seagrove 3rd and James Stoney (pictured) was placed 9th.


James Murphy, 10.6 completed a 10K run in the holidays to help raise money for the NSPCC and the

Dubai Cricket tour. He raised £300 (£150 to the NSPCC and £150 to the cricket tour fund). He was really pleased on the time completing the course in 47 minutes and 59 seconds. Well done, James.

On a cold winter’s night, the U16 A team travelled to Merchant Taylor’s Northwood to compete for the annual ‘Sixes and Sevens Cup’. After a slow start, Skinners’ walked away the victors against strong opposition. Tries were scored by Tod Skinner and Greg Davies-Webb, with George Spice adding to the score with one conversion and a penalty kick under the flood lights. Simon Everson (former head at Skinners’) and Merchant Taylors School were once again excellent hosts, and we look forward to competing for the cup again next year. Rob Hardy

On Friday 4th November, the School was very pleased to welcome Dr Andrew Gee, the Director of Admissions for Engineering at Queen’s College, Cambridge. During his visit, he spoke to Year 12 Physics students about what a degree in Engineering involves as well as discussing the admissions process for Cambridge. He then ran a workshop for a group of Year 11 students, on ‘The Mechanics behind how a clock works’. We are very grateful for Dr Gee’s visit a look forward to welcoming him back in the future. Rob Hardy

Dec 2016 newsletter  

December 2016 newsletter

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