Archive for October, 2018

Residential 2018

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Residential 2018               South Cerney

We had an unforgettable time! This trip put us through our paces and challenged us to open up to others and have fun.


We started our trip. We had a half an hour bus journey with songs such as wheels on the bus go round and round. Some joined in while others hid from this musical nightmare. We got there . To some, their fun had just begun; for others, they were scared for the challenge ahead . First we saw the warm, welcoming face of our instructor,`Jon`. We all said our hellos and picked up our bags. By now, everyone had forgotten how heavy they were – they almost pulled our arms out of their sockets. After going over quick safety chat, the fresh air hit us as we took in our surroundings for the first time. The thought raced through our minds that we would be staying here for 3 whole days. We all got asigned our mini homes for the next couple of days; the packing wars started! Clothes flying everywhere, stuff already missing, beds being made.What could possibly go wrong… The one thing we had to look forward to now was the food. We all dug into our tasty treats apart from Harry who forgot his lunch. But, spoiler, he wasn’t the only one! Mr Wilkinson forgot his too. Kind Mrs Wilkinson had to nip to Tesco to buy a sandwich! As soon as our lunches were gone, we headed back to finish unpacking but then we remembered we had to get our wet clothes on for our first activity.  Describing it as a rush would be an understatement. Luckily we got out in time… well some of us did. We were all looking forward to our first activity: Raft building. For some a wave of shock had just drifted over but for some it had hit them hard. We where all sailing out to our first challenge on a speed boat. For some this was fantastic; for others it was just casual. We had all got our team and the race began. We had to build a raft. The weird thing was when the two groups had finished we had the same design! We still wanted to race though. We got our raft ready then the race had begun. Miss Smith’s  group got a little headstart, but not the kind you would want considering they were floating in the wrong direction! But they did get a bit out of it: they got a speed boat half the way. If you  ask the other team it seemed a bit unfair… When we got to the other side, it was still all to play for: one team in a bush and the other’s raft falling apart. Ready…Steady…GO!!! We were on our way back to the island. When we started it was neck and neck (well if you don’t count that one team was sailing to the island and the other drifting along a fence). We had our own little championship, and every championship needs a champion. That was Mr Wilkinson’s group! They only won because they got a headstart, some would say. Cold and wet, we all headed inside to get dry but it was harder than you think to get dry. Before we knew it, it was time for our dinner. We had spaghetti made by our amazing personalized cook: Mrs Wilkinson. You can never say no to her food! We had her unmistakably amazing warm,chocolate brownies for dessert. Next thing we know its time for “bed”. (In our language it means stay awake and eat sweets while keeping the teachers are wide awake most of the the night!) It was a hard night for some, while some people sleep talk (ahem, Fleur…. and Lucy) others fall asleep with a click of the fingers!


It was the morning of our first full day. The tension was starting to rise but so was the morning. We only just realized the time and it was an almighty war to get space in our cabin to put our bags. Never would I want to do that again.We all got out in time to the smell of the new morning breeze. We all heard the chatter of the other cabins awake. We were still drowsy but awake enough to get our breakfast. The chit chatter of the previous night filled the room we ate in . We all ate a piece of toast and a bowl of cereal with a choice. After eating, washing and getting changed, it was time for paddle boarding. The fun had only just begun. We were getting to know our friends better now and it was really starting to show. We had all got on our paddle board and we where drifting out in the lake. As more and more people got on the water, the more fun it got. The first person to fall off in Mr Wilkinson’s group was Euan. He was lucky to fall in the shallow end. Next thing you know it was like there was a whole stack of falling trees everywhere – one person after another falling off. But the one thing that really caught your eye was the smile on their faces. Every time one person jumped in they had a smile on there face. This was meant to be something challenging and it was, but we had fun and that is why this was a great residential. The falling in (some of it was pushing in) wasn’t necessarily what we should’ve been doing, but every time someone hit the water there was another face of pure happiness. After the paddle boarding, we were all cold and wet and some VERY tired after all night of no sleep at all. Most of us looked forward to a nice sandwich and a packet of crisps.We didn’t take off our wetsuits we just rolled them down to our knees. Our residential was a challenge but the actual challenge was getting off the wet suits! Our lunch all gone, we now headed to our next activity which was more of a challenge than you would expect. It was more of a team  exercise: canoeing.We were told instructions for safety. The first was a team activity as we had to guide the boats out onto the water. Now everything was ready, we started to paddle to our next destination. It took team effort to paddle there with out going in all manner of directions. When we got there we had a barrel of fun. Talking about barrels, we named a barrel “Gary”: it was a barrel that had escaped from the raft building earlier on. After a good day out on the water, by now all of us were in bed (well that is what the teachers thought! The girls always talk but that doesn’t mean the boys don’t do anything. We were next to three yr6 boys and don’t think we didn’t hear there pillow fight in the middle of the night! It was so loud, it was surprising the other cabins didn’t wake up or any of the teachers for that matter.



After an odd night’s sleep, it was the last breakfast of the trip the and the talk of going home filled the little hall.We only had one more activity until the bus ride back to school was in our sight! We all got back to our cabins to get our wet clothes on for the next activity. We only had minutes left to get out and be ready but just enough time to get a head start on packing. We had loved our stay but it just felt right to go home. After a short walk and another safety talk, it was time to hit the water for the very last time! We got in a speed boat and whizzed off to the kayaks. When we got to the other side, it was time to hop in our ride for the next two hours. When everyone was in, the challenge was to untie every boat from the others. Then as a joke we all lined up and  some people had to stand up and do the head shoulders knees and toes (even Miss Smith did it!). We were all laughing our heads off – it was so much fun!!! We would all love to do it again.Then we all paddled along the lake and did some jumps while we waited for the others to catch up. Our  arms ached after an hour of paddling. We finally reached the giant kayak slide. We all had a go (nearly all of us)! The challenge was to keep our arms in the right place while sliding down this huge wooden structure . After a while, we thought it was a good idea to make Miss Smith have a go (to punish her for the share and learn she gives us). To top it all off, we got to give her an all mighty push! To all our surprise, she fell right in head first. We thought she was drowning but don’t worry she is still with us today. This was an unforgettable event! She walked back up the bank telling us that she hated us for pushing her in (don’t worry, we know she didn’t mean it).  She had a great big smile on her face and so did we from this amazing trip.

We are so thankful we had this opportunity of a life time. It really gave us a chance to know our class better. We are so happy to have had this chance to open up and learn more without being in a class environment. Thank you to everyone who helped us along the way and thanks for putting up with us at all times! This was a trip we will never forget in all our lives as it has changed us for the better and showed us we can live without technology and we can be independent if we put our minds to it.

By Elizabeth and Fleur

Owls 2018 South Cerney residential.

Dyeing Workshop

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

On Thursday 4th October, the Owls were lucky enough to have a visit from 3 Stroud Textile Trust volunteers: Ann, Ian and Marianne. To fit in with our topic and to follow on from our mill visit earlier in the week, we wanted to find out a bit more about what happens to the cloth once it has been spun and woven.

We learnt all about how natural materials can be used to dye clothes, and in fact would’ve been used as far back as coloured clothes go! We learnt about turmeric (one of the main ingredients in one of our favourite meals – curry!) and how, although it’s yellow, it actually comes from a beautifully green plant. The powder is created by grinding up the roots of a turmeric plant, and we were lucky enough to be able to hold a root. It didn’t smell particularly nice…

Once we had discovered all about turmeric, we were able to being our experiment! We first mixed turmeric with hot water. Next, we stirred the mixture for around 2 minutes. After that, we waiting for a further 2 minutes for the sediment (turmeric sludge) to sink to the bottom of the beaker. Once it had done so, we poured the mixture through a sieve into another beaker, leaving the sediment in the bottom of the first beaker. Now it was time to dye some material! We stirred the strips for a few minutes, then carefully (trying not to stain our hands) picked the cloth out with our stirring stick. We noticed that the cloth seemed to have been dyed different colours! This was because the strip of material we used was made up of 6 different materials: acetate, cotton, nylon, polyester, acrylic and wool. Some materials were natural; others were synthetic (man-made). Each material reacted differently to the turmeric dye:

We then added washing powder to our mixture: it created a burnt orange colour. We then dropped in some more material strips to see what happened this time. Again, each material acted slightly differently:

We then learnt that it was the alkali in the washing powder that made it change colour. To prove this, we added vinegar to the mixture which neutralised it and it returned to the yellow turmeric colour. Fascinating!

We had a great afternoon and learnt lots.

Our Trip to Gigg Mill

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

On 2nd October, we visited Gigg Mill in Nailsworth as part of our topic – Industry: work, rest and play in and around Avening. We visited the Black Country Museum last week and it was really interesting to learn about the industry in that area around the Victorian era. However, we wanted to know a bit more about the industry in our local area back then, so a visit to a mill was an obvious choice!

Instead of going by coach, I decided (much to the delight of the Owls!) that it would be really useful to walk to the mill. This allowed us to really get an insight into how it would’ve felt and what it would’ve been like for the adults (and children!) having to walk to work during the Victorian era. Luckily, it hasn’t been too wet recently so sensible walking shoes and a coat just in case was in order (as it turned out, most of our coats ended up around our waists as it was so warm!). This was a bit of a luxury though, as we know that people wouldn’t have had this kind of protective clothing during the Victoria era! Here are a few pictures of our journey:

When we arrived (as little later than planned!), we were shown into the mill where there was a variety of machinery – both wooden and metal. Robin and Peter, our Stroud Textile Trust volunteers, showed us 2 of the main jobs workers would’ve done in the Victorian era: spinning and weaving.




First we were shown a basic wooden loom and we were allowed to have a go on it. Some children were moving the levers, some were ‘passing the baton’ and one was ‘beating’. The others in the group would shout the numbers needed for the pattern and the children would get to work on the process.


First we were shown how the wool would have been sheared off in the Victorian era – it wasn’t anywhere near as quick or as easy as the electric clipped we have today! We then looked at how the wool would be brushed to become straight fibres ready to spin. The process is called carding and it was great for getting rid of knots! We all had a look at spinning on the wooden spinning wheel and Peter showed us how it all works. He told us that this spinning wheel was quite a luxury – before they used this, they would’ve used a spindle which would’ve taken a lot longer!

Finally, we had a look at some of the developments made in weaving during the industrial revolution. We first looked at a larger wooden loom, this time with a shuttle taking the weft back and forth instead of a person (much cheaper!). Then we looked at the power loom – a huge metal loom! It was about 10 times faster than the previous loom and very noisy! This one was powered by electricity, but we learnt that it would’ve originally been powered by water or steam. We also learnt (from Peter) that in Longford Mill, there used to be 120 of these very, very loud machines! We know this because Peter used to work there. He also used to attend Avening School so knew lots about the history of our area.

We had a really interesting trip and learnt lots about our local industry. Thank you to the Stroud Textile Trust volunteers for their brilliant expertise.

Our Visit to the Black Country Museum

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

On Friday 28th September, the Owls visited the Black Country Living Museum to enrich our learning about industry in and around Avening. It was a great opportunity to see how much different the industry was outside of Avening in the Victorian era.

There were lots of things to see and do – so much so, I don’t think we all managed to see everything! We did, however, manage to visit a few of the houses which were set up like they would’ve been in the late 1800s/early 1900s, and had lots of conversations with the volunteers inside who had lots of knowledge and were able to answer our questions. We learnt that some of these houses were replicas (built new to look like older houses), but some were actually old buildings moved from various location, brick by brick! That must’ve taken a long time!

We also visited a replica of a working mine. Our tour guide took us around the mine where it was also pitch black the entire time! We learnt about the different job the men and children would do (women weren’t allowed down!) and also that they would’ve had horses down there too! This was surprising for a few of us as it was so small already (lots of ducking involved!) that we weren’t quite sure how on Earth a horse managed to fit too!

The final thing we did was a Victoria-style school lesson. We learnt about how boys and girls were treated differently and different things were expected of them. We did our times tables and then had a go at practising old-style writing using a slate board and slate pencil. Some of us were better at this than others as it was very tricky, but everybody managed it in the end.

We had an amazing time and everyone really enjoyed their experience.

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