I don’t usually write blogs at 3am, then again I’m not usually awake at this hour. My mind is racing fast with thoughts, confusing, emotional thoughts, so I thought I’d write a nonsensical blog post whilst listening to Snow Patrol…


This week was a joyous, yet exhausting, camp with the year 8 students. Aside from one year when I had the DofE job I’ve been to every school camp since their inception and enjoyed each one – great memories have been made.

This one felt different, yet the same. A juxtaposition moment of emotional confusion.

Every year, each year group has as Alternative Based Curriculum (ABC) week – Year 7s focus on Community, Year 8s on Camp, Year 9s on Sport, health and well-being and Year 10s on Work Skills.

The year 8 camp at Ashburnham Place in Battle, Hastings. A large country house surrounded by 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land and includes three large lakes around the house. The land and house were acquired by the Ashburnham Christian Trust in April 1960, a few years after Lady Catherine, the last of this line of the Ashburnham family’s death in 1953; it is now operated as a Christian conference and prayer centre.


Ashburnham Place.



Glorious weather all week.


Having the same format as the previous years I went down with the forward party on Sunday to set up the tents and marquees. It takes a small army to do this, so two minibuses plus a van full of kit travel down early and spend the majority of that day setting up. This was the largest year group we’ve taken, there were twenty-eight tents for the girls, sixteen for the boys, three marquees plus numerous staff and sixth formers tents to put up in the scorching heat – but we did it!

As mentioned, the format is the same and that majority of staff that attend have been on many of the camps before so know the routine well. The students arrive on Monday, put their kit into their tents, get into their assigned groups and start their activities.

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Camp schedule.


Some of the activities are run by Adventure Plus+, an “Adventure Youthwork & Outdoor Education charity” (whose patron is Bear Grylls) and some by school staff. The students partake in canoeing on the lake, bushcraft by the fire pit, low ropes, a water fight, wild swimming, a visit to the beach (had been a castle visit during previous years), art and music with the finale being a music festival on Thursday night.

It’s all good fun and a highlight of the year for most. For me, I was resistant to attend initially because it’s an ending for me. These last few weeks have been a series of small endings- last time in a certain lesson, with a certain pupil, attending a certain event, speaking with a certain person…

I’m excited for what the future holds and I do need a change to happen within my life, I need to be challenged but I’m going to miss the school, the staff, the students, the hassles, the achievements… It’s been through many, many changes and every year has always felt unique. I’ve now said goodbye to my favourite year group, with whom I’ve been with them since their first day in our secondary school, but don’t really want to say goodbye to my favourite staff just yet; for it is them that has kept the job interesting with their exploits! I’m just glad I’ve gotten the opportunity to spend it with some of them this week whilst on camp and I hope I will find equally good friendships in my placements/whatever the future holds.

So yes, endings. It’s a lot to process at the moment. I feel this life cheats us, it steals time from us, makes us old, takes away our loved ones and highlights our flaws. It mocks us, yet it defines us- we just gotta keep moving with it. So yes, endings and three am ramblings.

My last big fire at camp.


I should really get back to bed.

Just Joanne