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Ashmead School

Ashmead provides its children with two everlasting things, one is roots, the other wings.

Wick Court Farm Residential 2019

Picture 1

Here are the photos from our week of muck and magic! 

Many special memories have been made :) 

If you have ended up with wellies that aren't yours, please bring them into school - we think there may have been a minor wellie muddle at the end of the week! Many thanks :) 

Here's a list of all the birds we saw on our week away...

Friday 17th May 2019

8.30am - All packed, crumpets have been eaten and your kiddies will be on their way back to you soon.

 

9.34am - Wick Court Farmers are on their way back to Aylesbury. Everyone is sad to leave but super excited to see families! They've all earned the famous Wick Court poo badge too! Congratulations to Tom Putt for achieving the most 'Dorm Points' across the week. This was a highly fought competition so well done girls! The coach is due to arrive, on the bottom playground, at approximately midday but we will update you again around Oxford as that'll be the sticking point! See you soon!!!

 

11.15am - The coach is 30 minutes away! Please ensure you collect suitcases and wellies and let a member of staff know when you leave. A few children have collected eggs etc so those will need to be collected too. Medicines are being given out to children on the coach. Thank you

 

11.45am - All back safe and sound. A HUGE thank you to all the staff who looked after the children so brilliantly. Numerous photos will appear at some point over the next few days so keep checking back here.

 

Finally, here are some superb quotes from the children summing up their entire experience;

 

" Challenging, scary at times but REALLY great fun"

" I'm so proud of myself for staying away somewhere without my family"

" We haven't wasted anytime watching TV"

" I ate fresh, yummy food from the countryside"

" I had a shower everyday!"

" It was weird not saying night night to my family"

" I wasn't woken by the noise of cars"

" Respecting the animals has taught me to be kind to everyone, not just to animals"

" I didn't play fortnite for 2 hours a night...and I didn't miss it!"

" I've become braver"

" I'm now more responsible"

" I've turned braver and happier with this memory"

" I spent less time on an Ipad and more time outside. I feel more awake now"

" Not everything new is scary"

" I learnt to tie my own shoe laces!"

"Some people want to get up and go on technology but here you can't. It makes you feel better because you aren't staring at a screen all day long"

" At home, I'm going to be more active now"

" I'm going to ask my Mum to buy me some kiwi fruit"

" It's been an experience of learning"

" I'm proud of how much effort everyone has put in"

" I've learnt to become a lot more independent"

" It's like a big sleepover for a whole week!"

" I'll now try to help out with new jobs even if they look a bit disgusting to start off with"

" What an exciting experience!"

" Wick Court is like a living heaven"

" It's a great thing to be invited here. Thank you"

" I'm so glad I got to come here. This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity"

Thursday 16th May 2019

The day started with a bacon and scrambled egg brekkie. We can't quite believe it's the last full day here at Wick Court. You guys will soon be bombarded with information about the Gloucester Old Spots, Large Blacks, Holstein-Friesians, Buff Orpingtons, Light Sussex, Marans and Crested Cream Legbars!! Now is your chance to swot up so you know what they are talking about on their return tomorrow! wink.

 

This morning, group 3 were on housework duties, made bread for the evening meal of pizzas and then took their last stroll over to Oldbury to watch the milking process. Using two robotic milkers, the cows are milked throughout the day and night and the children got a chance to view this very modern, high-tech system. This milk is then taken from the farm by tanker every other day, and sold to a local dairy where it is processed. Megan and Rubi loved going to Oldbury and seeing the milking. Rubi enjoyed stroking the calves - "they're so soft but like licking you too!". Group 2 completed their last stable yard feeding and then groomed the horses. The horses were so appreciative of their spa treatment. Group 2's farmer of the day was Sofia for conquering her horse fears and collecting her first eggs - what a good egg she's been today! laugh. As the children walked the horses back to the barn, they spotted Neil the farrier. He cut the horses' toe nails (and threw them at the children) before attaching new horse shoes. They were especially looking forward to the horse grooming. Group 1 carried out feeding around Wick Court. This started with the stinky dragon duty (feeding the dragon any left over scraps). Some very disgusted faces were seen there - especially from Melita! Then, it was off to feed 41 pigs (quite an arduous task). Finally, the children learnt how to train sheep and get them to walk on leads! This is not as easy as you would think, especially with some very stroppy lambs. Amalia worked so hard at 'training' her lamb while her partner held the lead firmly.

 

This afternoon, the children spent their time in the woodland area, with a campfire, den building, environmental art and craft activities, pottery, more cooking, making willow headbands, bug hunting and this fun filled afternoon ended with a visit from Bill, the wonderful storyteller. It's a really special time and a superb way to end their time here at Wick Court.

 

During supper, the children set themselves a challenge - only adults could talk and the children had to communicate without talking. The reward was free time 'over the bridge' all together. We are pleased to say that they achieved it!

 

After free time, the children packed their suitcases (get those washing machines at the ready!) and prepared for their final sleep at Wick Court. It's certainly been the most amazing adventure and they will have sooooooooooo much to tell you tomorrow.

 

We will update you of our departure, arrival and pick up point tomorrow.

 

Love from all the Wick Court Farmers xx

Wednesday 15th May 2019

Another sunny day here on Wick Court Farm. The day, following early morning farm feeding and housework, begun with a delicious breakfast of peach yoghurt, homemade granola, rhubard compote and Wick Court honey. Wick Court are very proud of their home cooked food. The amazing cooks use their own produce, whenever possible, and believe that enjoying healthy eating as well as the social aspects of eating together is a very important part of the week. All the meat served is from the farm too. The dining room, where all meals are eaten, has 4 tables seating 9 children plus a teacher (you can see this in the photos above). The children take it in turns to act as server and this is a considerable privilege which the children take very seriously!

 

Group 2 started the morning off with a bit of housework and bread making. The children followed the instructions really carefully and made some amazing bread for everyone else to eat at lunchtime. They then walked over to Oldbury farm to watch the cows being milked by the special robot. Adam was able to answer all of the maths questions and Abbas charmed everyone with his politeness and crazy jokes! Group 2 loved watching the robot and had the most interesting questions that Heather had heard in a long time. After a quick trip to the farm gift shop, a lunch of beef pie and veg was consumed (it went down a treat). This afternoon, the children weeded the flower beds before a further climb up 'poo mountain' and then their gardening job was completed with some fertiliser topping up. Following this, chicken feeding saw Aameera's superb chicken tossing (!) as well as expert egg collecting from Lola and Daisy. Throughout the day, Mollie and Lilian have turned their hand to photography and taken some wonderful shots for our collection (Mollie is partial to the odd 'selfie' too!) Today's farmer of the day was Abbas who was our little excitable bean and everyone commented on how happy and polite he was. What a super day! We are all hot and tired now though!

 

This morning, group 3 tried their hand at sheep training! It went very well. First, the children had to herd the sheep - great teamwork demonstrated from the whole group! Bella was the first to get her sheep to walk on the lead without Mrs Rogers pushing the lamb from behind (!) and by the end, all the sheep were walking calmly and more orderly in preparation for the competition in June at a local show. Next, Michael, Kenny, Conner and Josh were very persistent with cleaning out the ducks (very smelly ducks!). Charlie continues to be brilliant at remembering new words and facts, as well as working out the tricky farming maths questions. All teachers have noted that all of their groups are now becoming increasingly independent with the animal feeding and can remember what animals they are going to feed, weigh out the right amount and feed them without a worry in the world! 

 

Group 1 have had a fab day. This morning, they groomed, fed and mucked out the horses. In 3 teams of 4, the smelly stables were tackled before the children led the horses back into their stables. Melita enjoyed leading Mulan into his clean home. All 4 horses (plus Chilly the foal) were pleased with the children's hard work and enjoyed their clean 'poo free' stables. Mrs Compton set the children another 'clean plate challenge' at lunchtime with the all important dorm points up for grabs! Paige M, Zaiya and Crystal all came out on tops and even had 2 portions of everything! The hotly contested dorm points competition continues with Tom Putt, Queenies, Severn Bank and Solar aiming for the win on Friday! Lots of your letters arrived today and the children thoroughly enjoyed opening them. They delighted in sharing their letters with each other too. Thank you parents for engaging with this important part of their week away.

 

After lunch, Group 1 weighed the pigs. Much hilarity was had by the children as they wrestled with some very naughty and disobedient piggies! Mrs Compton nearly got taken for a ride on the back of one of them! The children all had very happy, smiley faces after this activity, even though they were clearly tired after frantically chasing the pigs around!

 

Your children continue to be very happy and healthy and although they are looking forward to seeing you all, they continue to enjoy this wonderful farming experience. What a treat for us teachers to see these children outside of a classroom setting. During the week on the farm, we have had the opportunity to see what they are truly capable of, away from the academic pressures of the classroom. Their self-esteem blossoms and their confidence rises as they flourish in this new environment. We get to see them in a completely new light  which is a real treat for us. These changes happen in just 7 days on the farm, but the effects can last a lifetime. Thank you for letting us borrow your delightful children.

 

As the children enjoy their showers and hot chocolate, we look ahead to a busy 'woodland day' tomorrow and shall update you again tomorrow morning.

 

Have a rest of the evening,

 

Mrs Thompson and all the Wick Court Farmers

 

Tuesday 14th May 2019

The tooth fairy visited twice last night! (Paige D and Alissa). Alissa left directions AND a note asking for the tooth fairy's namewink. Mrs Rogers found a robin flying in the parlour late last night - she wonders if it's the one from the 'Coming Home' story which the Year 4/5 children recently studied.

 

It's Jasmin's birthday today and so far she has given her birthday 11/10. Before breakfast, Jasmin was super at collecting 5 eggs from the ducks while they were being extremely noisy. We crowned Kenny 'King Of The Eggs' because he hunted for them so thoroughly and looked after them well. Michael picked up a total of 4 chickens by their tails in order to move them out of the way!! Grace worked with the horses this morning. She was a little nervous to begin with but soon demonstrated great confidence and the enjoyment could be seen spreading across her face. 

 

Group 1 took another sunny stroll over to Oldbury where they shone with their care, great listening skills and enthusiasm. Watching them all walk back, hand in hand, was a joy to see. Mrs Compton's 'farmer of the day' was Paige M who has thoroughly enjoyed the whole day. She behaved impeccably, asked really good questions, remembered a whole host of key information and was generally a superstar. Group 2 trained the sheep. Daisy tamed her lamb beautifully despite it being a little feisty to begin with!

 

At coffee time, we had some birthday cake for the birthday girl and sang her a 'Happy Birthday'. After coffee time, the children took a break from their farm jobs and completed a rotation of three different activities; including a session cooking with Nicky, the head cook, where they prepared their own evening meal using Wick Court's own produce, bird watching with Bill and Brian and one of our all time favourite activities, beekeeping.

 

Cooking - the children made sausage rolls for supper 'Wick Court style' (with halal alternatives). Group 1 decided to fashion theirs into wonderful unique animal creations - great efforts were noted from Freddie, with his Charlotte's Web sausage roll theme and Lilia with her 'sausage roll penguin'. Being able to eat our own homemade cooking was yummy and appreciated by all.

 

Beekeeping - As you can imagine, this left many of our farmers feeling rather nervous but all children participated and completed the task. Drake, in particular, showed that he is made of very strong stuff! Sofia went from not wanting to be anywhere near the bees to being best friends with the buzzy creatures by the end.

 

Bird watching - We witnessed some very keen 'twitchers' who identified many different birds - Woodpeckers, Herons, Blue Tits, Goldfinches, Great Tits and Jackdaws to name but a few.

 

Grace is currently performing a gymnastic 'cartwheel' display, along with Rubi, out in the garden. The children get free time at different points during the day. This means they are free to play in the courtyard with the basketball hoop, table tennis, giant games, they have access to the garden all around the house, a badminton court, and can also venture out into the orchard for a game of football, volleyball or rounders. Megan is reading another book - that girl LOVES to read heart

Amalia and Bess continue to greet any challenge they meet with sheer grit, determination and enthusiasm so a special mention to them. In addition, Mr Stocks wishes to mention Hope who threw herself into all aspects of the day and braved the bees brilliantly.

 

Mrs Thompson and all the Wick Court Farmers

 

PS - Highlight quote of the day;

"So, we actually have to brush our teeth TWICE a day?" cheeky

 

Monday 13th May 2019

Good evening one and all. Sorry the update is a bit late but it's been a jam packed day. The sun was shining for us again today and everyone was rather sleepy first thing, despite having a settled night's sleep. We think the Sunday walk zonked everyone out yesterday! We had to steal Lilian's duvet in an attempt to wake her :). Despite the duvet stealing, everyone arrived promptly in the 'boot room' to commence their jobs at 7.30am. Group 1 fed the Wick Court animals, group 2 were on stable yard feeding duties, where they collected a total of 33 eggs, and group 3 stayed in to do housework. Mrs Rogers challenged her group to tidy the games box in the parlour which they did extremely well.

 

For breakfast, we had the usual selection of cereals, toast, fresh orange juice and porridge along with today's hot choice of chipolata sausages and baked beans. After the delights of breakfast, group 1 tried their hand at sheep herding! What absolute fun they had! There were lots of rules to follow but everyone worked well together to round up the sheep from one field, herd them down a lane, through another field and into the farmyard. Unfortunately, a gate had been left open so the sheep then escaped into the wrong field. Group 1 had to start all over again but eventually herded them into the right field! As a reward for their hard work, a well earned rest was given under the shade of an old, oak tree where Drake and Alex enjoyed playing together amongst the buttercups. Group 2 went with Mel to the stables to muck out Cuckoo, Jack, Easy, Chilly and Mulan. This involved poop scooping, delivering 'said poo' up poo mountain (ask your children on their return!), collecting fresh bedding and topping up the food and water. Once these tasks had been completed, the children led the 5 horses back into their clean stables and listened intently as Mel filled their eager little minds full of 'horse facts'. Crystal tried to negotiate a deal with Mel to buy a horse off her. The Queen has already bought 4 of Mel's horses so we know they are top quality! We even saw a picture of the Queen on one of Mel's horses! Lola earned some more dorm points for overcoming her fear of the horses. She was a little in awe of their size but plucked up the courage to lead Mulan back into his stable. Group 3 took a trip across the 2 fields to Oldbury where they impressed Farmer Tim and Farmer David by remembering lots and lots of cow facts. Bella felt really proud of herself for becoming braver when it came to feeding the calves. Conner enjoyed the job of whisking the powdered milk which the younger calves drink. A strong arm is definitely needed for the whisking process!

 

Before lunch, the children completed their letters home. These should begin landing through your door from Wednesday morning. Some of your letters arrived here yesterday and today, and these brought nothing but smiles to the children's faces. For lunch, we enjoyed macaroni cheese and vegetables followed by jelly and ice-cream. The cooks had prepared a variety of rarer vegetables for the children (beetroot and butternut squash) so we challenged each child to all take a taste of at least one of these vegetables.

 

This afternoon, group 1 and 3 completed some gardening - covering potatoes, planting a variety of seeds (including some purple sprouting broccoli which takes a whole year to grow) and sunflowers. Morgan was a wonderful gardener and really shone with her determination to learn all about gardening. Meanwhile, group 2 had a fantastic afternoon of weighing the pigs. Farmer Dave suggested that Aameera and Adam should go into business (AAPS -Aameera and Adam pig services) because they were simply fantastic at catching the pigs in the weighing trolley. All the children enjoyed this activity so much and Farmer Dave was able to just sit back on the wall and watch the children work together as one brilliant team. Mrs Thompson felt very proud of group 2 and shed a little tear!!

 

For tea, we made our own wraps which the children thoroughly enjoyed. Mr Stocks arrived this evening looking much more wide awake than any of us (his time will come!!) and took group 2 out to feed the animals around Wick Court. Group 1 walked over to Oldbury. The walk from Oldbury back to Wick Court, across the beautiful fields, is such an amazing experience for both the children and the adults. You can quite literally see for miles - green fields, the most amazing views over towards the Cotswolds and the River Severn (looking a little dry at present due to all this hot sunshine we are experiencing!). It's so lovely to do this walk in the early evening time too. Cleo was the farmer of the day in Group 1 and told Mrs Compton and Mr Rogers that she is having "THE BEST TIME EVER." Group 3 had early showers and were on hot chocolate making duties. We love gathering the children in the dining room, during hot chocolate time, to share news of the dorm point totals of the day and listen to all of the children's individual highlights.

 

Wick Court is a very special place for your children to visit. The living and working together, the staying in a big, old house for a week, reflecting and growing both as individuals and as part of a team. It's a bit of a cliché but the benefits of it can't be measured in a test or exam! This truly is a once in a lifetime experience and your children are currently living the dream. Rest assured that all is still well and we can't quite believe we have reached the half way point. It all goes very fast from now on...

 

It's now quiet for the evening so we are off to bed and shall catch up with you all tomorrow.

 

Mrs Thompson and all the Wick Court Farmers

Sunday 12th May 2019

Well, what a glorious day! We are all currently out and about enjoying every single moment of this glorious sunshine. 

 

Our day started off really well following a great sleep. Group 2 completed housework tasks with Lola earning herself 5 dorm points. Ross, Mollie, Hope and Lilia enjoyed housework so much that they continued into their free time!! Group 1 fed the stable yard animals. Despite being a little nervous at first, Paige M soon got to grips feeding the large pigs. Amy had to remove 2 chickens, by their tails, from the egg box so Bess could retrieve 45 eggs!!! Wow!  Group 3 fed the rest of the animals around Wick Court. Jasmin impressed Mrs Rogers with her bravery whilst feeding the pigs in pen 3. It’s already becoming  evident that children are developing their independent skills when weighing out the food. Lots of Mathematical skills are being used on a very regular basis and Farmer John loves to challenge the children with fairly complex farm maths problems. This is using and applying maths in proper real life situations! Of  course, it’s vitally important that all of these early morning farm jobs happen before we even think about our own bellies!! 

 

For breakfast this morning, we had fresh orange juice, cereal, porridge, boiled eggs and toast. Mixed reviews on the boiled egg front but we are so pleased with how the children are experimenting with new foods they’ve never tried before. We also have an extremely polite group of children who are thanking the amazingly talented cooks, who play such an important part in life here at Wick court. 

 

After filling our faces, it was time for Group 1 to muck out with the horses, check the horses had sufficient hay and visit the famous ‘poo mountain’. Zaiya was the star farmer today and showed incredible strength as a stable hand. Could this be a possible future career? The group then moved the horses into their clean stables. Group 2 walked over to Oldbury to look after the calves where farmer Tim introduced the children to some male cows (most of the cows at Oldbury are females) Meanwhile, group 3 were weeding and planting in the gardens. Charlie was a superb gardener and Josh demonstrated his super neat handwriting as he wrote out labels to place in the soil.   

 

At lunchtime, we had some visitors from Aylesbury who joined us for our traditional roast dinner and Sunday afternoon walk. Mrs Bounds, Miss Govier, Miss Redrup and Mrs Compton’s family were all delighted to see how happy and contented all the farmers were and many of our farmers mentioned our visitors as one of their highlights of the day. Our walk enables the children to see some of the surrounding area, including a stretch along the banks of the River Severn and a climb up (and a roll down) the buttercup filled 'Barrow Hill' with its amazing views over Gloucester, the Cotswold Hills, the Malverns and past the Severn Bridges into Wales. Being out in the superb sunshine made everyone smile and feel on top of the world. 

 

This evening, we had some homemade soup and scones before completing final farm jobs prior to showers.  A pig stood on Cleo’s foot whilst she was pressing the pig’s magic ‘tail straightening’ button 😃.Paige D’s group made their first trip over to Oldbury and Paige asked many intelligent questions about the calves.   

 

Highlights quotes of the day include:

”I loved the Wick Court Mess pudding soooooo much” Lilia

”The whole day was my highlight” Drake

 

We have all had our hot chocolate and flapjack snack now and the children are in bed and asleep!!! Woop, woop! We will speak to you again tomorrow and hopefully share a couple of sneak peak preview photos!! Love Mrs Thompson and all the Wick Court Farmers

Saturday 11th May 2019

Good evening everyone. Today has been a super day for us here in Gloucestershire, with the sun kindly shining down on us for the best part of the day. Everyone slept pretty well last night, seeing as it was the first night away from home. It was group 1's turn to carry out housework duties first thing with Freddie being quite the hoovering expert (Mr and Mrs Ramsay, this must be music to your ears!). Group 2 fed the animals around Wick Court and displayed excellent listening skills, whilst Group 3 fed the chickens and ducks. 

 

For breakfast, we enjoyed cereal, fresh orange juice, porridge, toast, scrambled egg and bacon. This filled us all up nicely providing us with the necessary energy to complete our next jobs - Group 1 returned to the cows at Oldbury, where they learnt lots of fascinating facts from Farmer Tim and Farmer John. Group 2 went gardening - Ross was delighted by this and showed such skill at digging the weeds from the flowerbeds. Group 3 cleaned out the stables and all earned dorm points for their expert work and teamwork. Well done Group 3. 

 

Just before our hearty lunch, we spent some time in the library where we began to write our letters home to you. The library is situated on the top floor of the house and is a rather fascinating area to sit and chill. It also has the most amazing countryside and River Severn views. One of Drake's highlights of the day was writing in his diary and drafting his letter home. For lunch, we ate homemade cottage pie with fruit salad for pudding, and this prepared us for our busy afternoons of gardening, visiting the dragon and the famous 'poo mountain' (group 1), mucking out the geese and ducks (group 2) and pig weighing (group 3).

Group 1 then had to complete another task before they were rewarded with their supper - they had to take care of the chickens, geese, ducks and sheep. Zaiya, Alissa and Melita collected all the eggs for the group.

 

For tea, the children made their own rolls and we witnessed some very interesting filling choices indeed! (cucumber and jam Cleo!!!). Group 1 then had early showers, group 2 took their first walk over to Oldbury where they met a 4 hour old calf and group 3 fed the pigs. Crystal turned vegetarian (for approximately 2 minutes) before she realised she wouldn't be able to partake in the Sunday lunch tomorrow! Morgan was Mrs Compton's star farmer of the day, because she worked tremendously hard and persevered when feeding the sheep, despite feeling a bit nervous to start with. She was awarded 10 dorm points for her bravery. The children are all on a mission to achieve 'dorm points' as the winning dorm will earn a prize on Friday. Mr Rogers has taught some of the children to play the board game Cluedo this evening in the parlour and I expect that this will now be on Amy's Christmas wish list!

 

Well, the children have now all just had their hot chocolate and shortbread and are currently brushing their teeth and getting in to bed. We already had children asking if it was bedtime at 5pm (Lilia!) so we expect it won't take them long to drift off to sleep tonight. Tomorrow, we have our Sunday walk to look forward to and the weather forecast looks glorious for this. It's always a highlight of the week.

 

Until tomorrow evening,

Mrs Thompson and all the Wick Court Farmers

 

Friday 10th May

What a busy but very successful first day at the farm! Here is a run down of all activities which took place this evening. After a hearty and delicious jacket potato tea, complete with all the trimmings, group 1 made their first trip over to Oldbury Farm (the neighbouring dairy farm) where they ensured all the calves and cows were sufficiently fed for the evening. One of our young farmers,Alex, was even offered a job in the office at Wick Court after displaying such magnificent mathematical skills! Group 2 fed all the animals at Wick Court ; this included some extremely noisy and boisterous pigs and piglets and many cute sheep and lambs. At one point, the pigs knocked Adam flying over! Group 2 were extremely excited to bottle feed the youngest lambs too! Group 3 were on house keeping duties; we are sure to have them all trained nicely for you on our return.

 

Highlight quotes from the day include:

“What an exciting adventure to spend time with friends”

“I love seeing my friends so happy”

”It’s great to spend time away from home”

”The hot chocolate is the best!”

”These jacket potatoes are better than my Mums!” (Sorry Alissa’s Mummy!)

 

Abbas said to me at bedtime “I want to remember these moments for the rest of my life”. These children truly will.

Parents - please rest assured that ALL children are well, happy and now in bed. Whether they are actually asleep is another matter! I’m updating by phone at the moment, so will endeavour to add more news tomorrow via the means of an actual computer!

 

Enjoy your quiet houses and think of us all!!

Love Mrs Thompson and all the Wick Court Farmers x

Arrival information

Part 1: Lots of excited farmers are now well on their way to Wick Court. Everyone is looking forward to the adventure which lies ahead and spirits are high.They are due to arrive at the farm by 2:30pm; we will let you know when they are there.

 

Part 2: All farmers have arrived safely and are enjoying a drink and biscuit. They are eager to unpack and explore their new home for the week. The teachers will add an update onto the website this evening but it will not be until quite late, as they will be ensuring the children are all settled and in bed before doing so.

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