Claires Court Bulletin



I am currently in Manchester on a two day Headteachers' conference. To some people spending time with 180 other Independent School Heads from around the country does not sound like an earth shatteringly exciting way to pass the weekend (I will not comment as to whether I am ‘some people’ until after the conference!), but it has certainly opened my eyes to the struggles that many private schools are going through to establish themselves and their curriculum in an increasingly uncertain market, despite the economy showing such positive signs of recovery.

Over the next few weeks I will share with you my proposals for building works and improvements to our facilities that are going to take place in the summer holidays, and I would welcome your thoughts and feedback on these plans.

So, what has happened this week? Simple answer, everything! Our Under 9 chess team played in a Jamboree on Tuesday and performed superbly. Our Year 3 team won the event which was exceptionally good and many congratulations go to Teo Rybak, Sam Jeffery, Oscar Helm, Nayan Popat and Henry Dargan. However, equally impressive was our Year 2 team - playing in the Under 9 event and with the majority of the boys only 6 years old, they managed to come third - a wonderful effort and congratulations go to Josh Spanswick, Tom Dargan, Ben Savidge, Freddie Galitzine-Scott and Harry Watson. The future of chess at Claires Court looks very bright indeed, and I have been told that our Year 1 chess players have come through their first activity session showing a lot of promise too. Well done to Year 1!

Our older cricketers started the fixture list off with great gusto against Chesham on Wednesday, and dodging in and out of the rain showers, we managed a win and a loss. Mr Goddard was especially pleased with his group and there were some excellent individual performances from the boys - do check out the results in our sports section. Good luck to the Under 9 and 10 teams who kick off their matches next week. Mr Barber and his team have been equally busy every lunchtime on the athletics field and over 60 boys have joined them for training in some shape or form.

Last weekend four pupils accompanied by Mrs Vine took on the best in the area for the Mindlab Olympics in Twickenham - our boys came 5th out of 8 teams. Our young group were playing a very experienced set of students and they should be really pleased with this achievement - we are very proud of them. The team consisted of Alistair Jesseman, Alec Ellis, Saul Lopez-Guisado and William Paveley.

On Wednesday Year 2 travelled to the Living Rainforest in Newbury and they enjoyed a wonderful experience. Mrs Thomson and Mrs Wood were delighted with how inquisitive and enthusiastic the boys were to learn about different species…….and on return I saw how well the Gift shop did out of our visit! There were snakes and lizards and crocodiles all over the playground at 4pm! I really support Claires Court’s drive to get the pupils out to different environments to learn through a variety of media and resources - bringing learning to life has to be our ultimate goal and we strive to ensure that our boys get as many opportunities as possible to get out there! Similarly,

Reception ventured to Pizza Express on Tuesday morning (I was hugely disappointed that I did not get an invite!) and learnt about a variety of foods, recipes, baking and sharing! It was lovely to hear that the Pizza Express staff were just flabberghasted that 4 and 5 year old boys could behave so beautifully and so sensibly,and yet still have a brilliant time. Mrs Sullivan informs me that their manners were impeccable and even at such a tender age, they showed maturity and patience throughout the morning.

Onto individual pieces of work, and I must start with the outstanding collage that George and Harry Watson produced from their Easter holiday visit to Brownsea Island. The picture below my words does not do it justice - do nip into my office to see it if you like, it is currently hanging on my wall! Well done to Harry and George, the detail they have put into it is quite superb. I have seen some lovely work from Year 3 and Year 4 this week as well, and I have some gold stars to distribute when we return to school on Tuesday.

We had a busy open day yesterday,and yet again our visitors were shown around the school by our brilliant ambassadors from Year 6. I will never get tired of hearing the prospective parents praise our boys for the pride they show in their School. One particular parent told me how impressed she was with her guides, Harry Grayson and Jake Bains-Gillespie, both with their modesty and the genuine interest they showed in her own children. Well done to all of Year 6 - this is the last time they will show parents around, as for the last open day of the term they will pass the baton onto Year 5. I know that Year 5 are relishing the prospect of carrying out this prestigious role.

I hope that parents of boys in Years 1-6 received my letter yesterday explaining the assessment process that the boys are going through in a few weeks. Do contact your son’s form teacher or myself if you would like any further information on this.

A quick reminder to parents of boys in Reception and Year 1 that we will continue to run the pickup service at the front of the school every Wednesday and Friday this term - it certainly seems to be popular. May I please ask parents to remain in their cars to keep the process safe and efficient. Thank you.

I hope you all enjoy the bank holiday weekend and good luck to all of our chess players who are competing on Monday at LVS school.

Justin Spanswick

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As we enter the Summer Term our attentions are fully on our Summer Fete on Saturday 20 June. We've already secured a number of stalls for our new look 'summer market street'. Bouncy castles are booked and the license for our bar is being processed! However there is still much to organise, so if you'd like to be involved please come along to our PTA meeting at 9.00am on Tuesday 5 May.

We are also looking for volunteers on Friday 12 June to help set up ahead of the summer ball. It would be great if some men folk could also volunteer their time to help with some of the heavier lifting.

Emma Robertson


The Arabian Night Summer Ball is now only 6 weeks away. We have released our last three tables for sale and are happy to take bookings of 10/12 guests, smaller groups or pairs. Tickets are £65pp, contact us via email to book. In addition to this we are looking for some creative volunteers to help dress the marquee and tables on Friday 12 June all day (during school hours) at the Ridgeway site.If you can help, please email Gill Towell. It will be a fun day with lunch and drinks provided ! Please do get involved if you can.

Gill Towell


LUNCH - The lunch for the Tuesday after the Bank Holiday will be pizza and not pulled pork as advertised in our menu.


Monday 4 May - School closed due to Bank Holiday

Monday 4 May - Chess Megafinal at LVS

Tuesday 5 May - Y5 Maths Challenge @ Davenies

Tuesday 5 May - PTA Meeting 9am. All welcome to attend

Thursday 7 May - Whole School Photo today so tidy hair and smart uniforms please


Monday 11 May - Friday 15 May - Exam week for Y1 -Y6

Friday 15 May - Y2 Lads and Dads Books and Bushcraft 5pm - 6.30pm

Tuesday 19 May - Y5 taster afternoon at Claires Court Senior Boys

Wednesday 20 May - Visit from the local Thames Valley Police PCSO for Y1 and Reception

Thursday 21 May - U11 Berkshire Chess Jamboree


Monday 11 May - Y4 trip to Highclere Castle

Thursday 14 May - Reception trip to Woolly Firs


Please note that the boys are not allowed to have mobile phones in school. If these are required, in order to facilitate bus journeys for example, then they must be signed in to the office for safe-keeping and collected on departure from school. Boys are not permitted to make or receive calls / texts during the day. The office ladies are happy to receive and pass on appropriate messages if required.


Due to the Bank Holiday, Mrs Fox and Mrs Stevenson are teaching the Monday lessons on another day. Mrs Fox will be coming in on Friday as well as lessons being spread over the other three days. Singing with Mrs Stevenson will take place on Wednesday. Please do check the timetable for up to date lesson times.


Our Rabbit winners this week are Harrison Atkinson (1G) and Tom Welch (4Y) . Harrison can always be noticed around school for the kindness and concern he shows towards his peers.

It began by Harrison helping a younger pupil untangle his chosen toy and ended with him spending all of his break time tidying the outside toy box.

In After school Cricket Mr Denton was keen to get in as much practice as possible, leaving little time to tidy up. Tom quickly and efficiently took on the job himself. Yet another example of behaviour that we value in our school.


Two U9 chess teams competed in the Berkshire Primary Schools Under 9 Jamboree on Tuesday. After the first round our Year 3 team were in first place and maintained that position throughout the tournament, going on to win the trophy. Congratulations to Teo Rybak, Henry Dargan, Nayan Popat, Sam Jeffery and Oscar Helm.

Our Year 2 team were the youngest ever Junior Boys team to enter the Jamboree and came third, missing second place by just half a point, and winning bronze medals. Congratulations to Joshua Spanswick, Tom Dargan, Harry Watson, Freddie Galitzine-Scott and Ben Savidge.

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Congratulations to Alec Ellis, Alistair Jesseman, William Paveley and Saul Lopez-Guisado who displayed super gamesmanship qualities as well as great concentration skills as they competed in their rounds at the Mindlab Olympics.

They all enjoyed winning some of their games and conducted themselves very nobly in situations of defeat.

Well done boys for taking part.


** SUMMER SPECIAL PRICING** at Holiday Club and Sports Club…. now from £25 per day!

Be part of the ‘Holiday Club Go Green’ theme week this May half-term from Tue 26 to Fri 29 May at the College Avenue site. Now from just £25 per day – see Pricing & Booking for more details. Join Sports Club at the Ridgeway site for two days Athletics Skills Development on Tue 26 & Wed 27 May, and two days Cricket Skills Development on Thu 28 & Fri 29 May. Again, all starting at the same great price per day of £25 . See programme and booking for more details.

Visit our website for calendars, programmes and booking for both clubs.