Our 2021 Hooke Court adventure!


Here you can read our blogs of our 3 days and 2 nights away from school and home. We had a great time at Hooke Court in Dorset! All our photos can be seen at the bottom too.
(Start at the bottom and work up!)

Day 3 

Birthday update: 

So today we have a birthday! We tried to persuade L to delay it and be 8 for another week, but she wasn't having any of it! We celebrated at breakfast with a cake, candle, sparkler and a rousing chorus of happy birthday! Then, as you do for birthdays, there were cards and presents - L is pleased with her book on animals and everyone loved the title 'Funny Bums and Freaky Beaks'! There are pics in the album below. 

Today, it's a little damp, but the sun is peeking through too. Some of us are making onegars and others are building and testing aqueducts. There are a few pics of this below but, as we have officially 'checked out', we are relying only on 4G to get things uploaded so it is more challenging. 

Instructions for meeting us are below (and in yesterday's update). We'll see you on the playground at 3:30ish! 


Morning all! 

Well .... we're all a bunch of early risers! There are still a few Sleeping Beauties about but, as of 6:24 this morning, most of us were awake and up! 

Today we have a lot to do; pack our cases (we’ll do our best but these might be a little less organised than how they were packed with you and we can absolutely guarantee that there will be stuff belonging to others in them too!), have breakfast, strip our beds off and then head out to build aqueducts and onegars. We are hoping it’ll be a beautiful day again, just like yesterday! 

After lunch, the coaches arrive and we’ll start heading back to school. We aim to arrive at 3:40ish but will let school know if we are delayed by traffic - occasionally it can be busy! 

As we said yesterday, please wait on the playground for us and we will bring your child there. Bags will be unloaded from the coaches and you will be able to collect these from the pavement. Please be aware that, after 3 days and 2 nights of living life to the full, your children (& the staff!) are likely to be a little emotional when they see you; this is entirely normal. A residential experience is an experience like no other and this year has been no different. 

Your children have been amazing! Year 4 is one of my favourite age groups to bring on a residential; they are funny, enthusiastic, kind and thoroughly enjoy life. Year 4 have impressed us no end with their boundless enthusiasm for everything over these last couple of days and several of the Hooke Court staff have said how impressed they are with our behaviour choices, our kindness and our knowledge of the Roman Empire. One member of the team here has even said how much they look forward to working with us and were always glad to see our booking on the calendar! Your children have learned how to be independent and resilient and they have flourished; I am so proud of them (& the staff)!

Well, off to remind everyone to get dressed in those layers! There may be a few photos today but as we have to update without wifi, there won't be as many as yesterday.

We’ll let you know when we leave. See y’all soon! 

Day 2 


It's all quiet here now, apart from the odd whisper! Some of us have had showers and we are almost (!) packed ready for tomorrow. For our last day we are looking forward to targeting our teachers with our home made catapults and to making aqueducts. 

Along with our completely amazing children, I also need to say a big thank you to our amazing Portway staff; they continue to be among the best I have worked with. Mr Ireland, Mr Kirby, Miss Freemantle, Mrs Norton, Mrs Staff, Mrs Fettes, Mr Stafford, Miss Paterson, Miss Turner, Miss Bissell and Miss Goddard have worked tirelessly literally all hours of the day and night to ensure our children have had a great time. They have read stories, given hugs, brushed hair and listened endlessly and have worked so very hard to make sure everyone has been looked after brilliantly. I am very glad to work with such an amazing team both here and back at school.

Anyway, almost time for ‘adult lights out’ so there’s only time to say that we aim to be back at school around 3:30 tomorrow afternoon. Please wait on the playground for us as the teachers will bring children off the coaches and round to the playground. You can then collect your children and afterwards go to collect their bags which will have been unloaded from the coaches and lined up on the pavement. Please make sure that you tell the member of staff that you are taking your child as we will worry if anyone just disappears. 

I really hope that all makes sense! We’ll hope to add a couple of updates tomorrow but I need to sign off now because I really am very tired!! We look forward to seeing you all tomorrow! 


Tonight’s dinner was a delicious and noisy affair - sausages with roast potatoes and veg followed by, and this was very exciting, chocolate cake and chocolate custard. When the chef revealed pudding, everyone was very excited!

We have spent the evening learning about the life of a Roman soldier and we have practised some of the exercises soldiers would have done. These included  practising target throwing with bean bags, collecting ‘logs’ and running these round a circuit as well as moving ‘hot rocks’ down a guttering pipe. It was a busy evening and we decided that actually Romans were very fit because they had done all that exercise with all their heavy armour on! We learnt about the reasons for different parts of the armour and volunteered Miss Bissell and Mr Stafford to dress up and model this for us. I’m sure there are pictures to share somewhere! 

Our mosaic making has also been a great success and we will all be bringing home our own small mosaic to show you. These will come back to school with us and we’ll sort them out early next week.  

Our photos have gradually been uploaded, by staff, to the 'Day 2' folder that you should be able to see below. We've worked really hard with them; we hope you enjoy them. (If you click on the pictures below, you can see larger copies.)

Morning ... and we're off! 

The day has begun well - the sun is shining, the sky is blue and everyone remembered to wear the required number of layers beneath their Roman outfits! It turns out that, once we'd all dropped off, everyone slept well and all are bright and chirpy this morning. Breakfast happened smoothly and everyone tucked in well and loved that it involved two courses (with extras if we wanted it!) - we are being spoiled! 

Several funny things have happened, as they often do when everyone is away from home and tired. One of us was in our PJs at 4pm yesterday afternoon, ready for bed and had to hurriedly dress again once we'd pointed out that we hadn't had dinner or gone to our evening activities yet! Another one of us tried to come out in slippers and had to run back in to change into shoes! And a member of staff, who shall remain nameless, has proudly declared that they "only have two pairs of hands!" (I'm definitely planning on making the best use of those two pairs of hands when we're back at school - lol!) 

After breakfast we all took some time to pose for photos and hopefully you can see these below. Groups have now gone off to the Roundhouse to learn about Roman cooking, or leather and jewellery making, whilst others have disappeared to explore Roman soldiering. 

We will check back in later when we have a bit of time. I am sure you can appreciate how busy we are but rest assured that all is good and everyone is enjoying themselves and smiling a lot! 

Take care

Day 1 


Well it's been a busy evening! We have explored the life of a  Roman soldier - our photos show that Mr Stafford and Miss Bissell really do make the most imposing Roman soldiers! (see our pics!) We also designed and made mosaics, which look rather good and we enjoyed a good chat with each other about our day as we made them. We then chilled out in front of a DVD, caught up on some Horrible Histories and got ourselves sorted out for bed. We were all tucked in by a member of staff and, after a few last minute toilet trips, everyone is almost almost asleep - here's hoping for a peaceful night! We are hoping you can see some photos in the album; we are aiming for photos of everyone but, as I'm sure you can imagine, we are rather busy! Please bear with us and we'll get there.  


Hi all. It’s been a busy afternoon. We had lunch, made our beds, and got cracking on some team building activities really quickly. We had to get everyone to one side of a ‘river’ using only plastic mats and arrange ourselves in date of birth order on planks of wood (without using our voices!). We've practised ball skills and put together giant jigsaw puzzles as a team. So far it’s been a great afternoon and the children have all done themselves proud with helping and supporting each other. Already they are proving themselves to be kind, understanding and empathetic friends. We hope to upload some pics soon. The WiFi isn’t as strong here as at school so they may take a while to upload and, of course, we are rather busy with lots of Y4 children who are our priority! Please be patient with us, we will get there! We are all okay though and having a fabulous time. (We are rather surprised that it is 'only' roughly the end of the normal school day, already it feels like we've been here for ages!)