Once a year, a group of Seaford staff and students undertake the ride from Seaford College, Petworth, to the site of the original school – Corsica Hall in Seaford. Continue reading
As part of the school’s Community Programme, Seaford College hosted their second annual ‘Love Lunch’ for residents of local care homes on Sunday 12th February. Minibuses brought 53 residents, carers and drivers from 6 local Shaw care homes from Gosport to Crawley to Bognor.
In the warmth of the dining room they were welcomed by the girls from Mansion and Heden Court houses, offering them a ‘nice cup of tea’ (or coffee) to revive the spirits. Once all the residents had arrived, they tucked into a traditional roast gammon dinner followed by syrup sponge and custard.
Betsy Vernon, from Seaford, was “so impressed with how caring and attentive the girls were, seeing them to their places, settling them in, talking to them throughout, taking them to the cloakroom and serving their welcomed Gammon Roast Sunday lunch, with scrumptious dessert. A number of residents had seconds!”
“Seaford student Yolanda Gumpo played the keyboard beautifully and sang a number of songs, and even encouraged one of the residents to get up and sing a song he had composed himself. Another student, Lee Li, was our fantastic photographer for the day. He went round, introduced himself to the residents, and he took a number of shots to capture the atmosphere and sense of the afternoon.”
The ‘Love Lunch’ replaced the Christmas Dinner that Seaford College used to organise for the Shaw care homes, because it was felt that so much is happening at Christmas yet there is nothing during the long, dark days of January and February. The event is seen to be a bit of light in the wintry gloom – so much so that residents had been looking forward to it all month.
Shaw care homes and Seaford College have now been working on inter-generational projects for four years. Every week several students go to visit residents in their Petworth and Pulborough homes and during Seaford’s annual community ‘Big Day Out’ students take out groups of residents to restaurants in the area for a spot of lunch … or cake …or both!
Angie Douglass, Hillside Lodge Manager commented: “Everyone’s had a great day and once again Seaford College have done us proud.”
Because it’s Valentine’s Day, Seaford College students have sold 250 roses to fellow students and staff, raising over £500 for the Boarding House Walled Garden West’s charity of the term, Children with Cancer UK.
The flowers were hand-cut, wrapped and delivered around the campus by the students throughout the day, who also prepared Continue reading
On Monday, House Prefects from Seaford College presented a cheque for £560 to St Barnabas Hospice in Worthing.
The Prefects were given a tour of the facilities at St Barnabas which can provide hospice care for up to 40 adults at a time in the West Sussex area. It costs over £6 million a year to run the Hospice which has provided palliative care to over 30,000 patients since it opened in 1973.
St Barnabas was Walled Garden West Boarding House’s “Charity of the Term” before Christmas, and the money was raised through a number of fundraising activities including a fancy dress walk and a Reindeer run.
Headmaster John Green commented: “We are delighted to make this contribution to St Barnabas. Our Prefects were honoured to make the presentation and see the invaluable work the Hospice does in the West Sussex area”.
To find out more about the work St Barnabas does in the West Sussex area click here.
Just 26 months after nearly missing out on completing the National Three Peaks Challenge, on July 8th at 5.38am a team from Seaford College achieved the incredible feat of climbing the three highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales in under 24 hours (23 hours and 37 minutes to be precise).
The Seaford team comprised of eleven, including one driver and ten walkers. Teacher and houseparent Matthew Pitteway organised the event, and he said: “we all had one thing in mind: not to miss out again. Conditions on the hills were pretty awful with rain and strong winds nearly all the way, which made the going tough. We had no views to speak of at all on any of the summits, but soldiered on nonetheless.”
The Seaford team set off up Ben Nevis (1,344 m) at 6.01am on Tuesday 7th July. Although they started strongly, they found it difficult to get the right balance of kit due to the weather conditions, and so they had to stop several times to readjust and change clothing. The team eventually summited in just over three and a half hours, which was about half an hour longer than they had planned. Pausing for a quick picture, the team then shot straight back down, taking only one and a half hours in the descent.
The Seaford team then had to travel to Wasdale Head, but the driving conditions were excellent and they covered the 270 miles quicker than they anticipated. They started to climb Scafell Pike (978m) at 5.30pm and covered the ascent Continue reading
Bill and Alana Cuthbertson have devoted the last sixteen years to Seaford College, taking on a variety of different roles at the school. Well-loved Heden Court Houseparent Alana retired at the end of the Summer Term and before she left we spoke to her and Bill about the sixteen years they have dedicated to the school.
How did you become houseparents at Seaford College?
Bill: I hadn’t even thought about being a houseparent. I came here doing rugby coaching, doing three to four different jobs, but I wanted to settle down. I was asked if I wanted the houseparent role and I said ‘houseparent, you must be joking!’ I’d been a parent before, but never a houseparent. But I took the job, and I’ve never looked back. Alana was my assistant, and then Continue reading
Not satisfied with running two marathons and several half-marathons, Seaford College teacher Matthew Pitteway, accompanied by thirteen others, set off on the 20th June to complete the 100km circuit of the Isle of Wight by bike.
The circuit of the Isle of Wight is part of the ongoing fundraising efforts for Whizz-Kidz, a charity that provides support to improve the lives of children both at home and at school. Matthew’s marathons were in aid of Whizz-Kidz, and his fundraising efforts have been supported by his boarding house, Walled Garden West, who sold roses on Valentine’s Day in aid of the charity.
Matthew Pitteway and fellow teacher Edward Bowden cycled to Portsmouth, leaving at 6am and arriving at 8.30am. They had Continue reading
Four students and two teachers from Seaford College went to Lympstone, the training facility of the Royal Marines, on Friday to take part in one of the hardest endurance events there is. Students Henry Lunt, Harry Smith, Charlie Anderson and Hugo Wilson and teachers Matthew Pitteway and Dan Joseph took part in a 9 mile run, a lap of the endurance circuit, complete with lots of mud, tunnels, streams and very steep gradients, before finally finishing on the assault course.
The event was organised by The C Group, a charity that supports marines injured in action, who invited Seaford to take part in the challenge. Houseparent Matthew Pitteway and his boarding house Walled Garden West raised an impressive £1600 for the charity by organising a variety of fundraising events: from film nights to fancy dress walks, from fun runs to cycle rides. One event involved a cycle ride from Seaford College, Petworth, to the original site of the school at Corsica Hall, Seaford. Staff, students and parents cycled the 50 miles, setting off at 8am and arriving at 6pm.
The C Group invited representatives from other companies that had donated money to the charity over the course of the
year as well.
Matthew Pitteway, who came an amazing second place, said: “We received a thorough debrief when we arrived and were talked through the whole circuit by Royal Marines PTIs. The race was extremely tough, which was not helped by the fact that we missed a turn and ended up running an extra 2 miles! In the end we did really well, and the experience and sense of achievement made it all worthwhile.”
On a stunning evening about 350 competitors ran the 5 miles along the seafront over a mixture of sand, shingle, grass and road.
The boys in the House did themselves proud. By far and away the youngest competitors, they finished well up the field. The fastest student home was Finn Stovold (Year 10) in a little under 40 minutes.
Well done to all who took part (Hugo Wilson, Ryan Gregory, Connor Eales, Henry Lunt and Finn Stovold) – Walled Garden West are now looking forward to their next event of the year, the Goodwood Midsummer run in June.
Many congratulations to Seaford College teacher and houseparent Matthew Pitteway, who completed the London Marathon on Sunday, just two weeks after running the Brighton Marathon. This monumental effort was in aid of the charity Whizz-Kidz, which provides support to improve the lives of disabled children both at home and at school.
Dedicated Matthew has also completed two half marathons this year in Wokingham and Richmond, which he ran in just over one and a half hours, as well as competing in the Chichester Corporate Challenge. He said: “Throughout this experience I have been receiving sponsorship from colleagues, students and the parents of the boys in my boarding house, Walled Garden West. I am very close to achieving my target now of £1600 and hope that over the next few days the pledges I received will start coming in to take me over the total.”
“The London Marathon was an incredible experience; the crowds of runners were awe-inspiring. So many people dressed up and were carrying around huge cumbersome costumes in order to raise money for their respective charities. Similarly, the crowds of spectators lining the streets really kept us all going; it is amazing to hear people shouting out your name when you are feeling low and at the point of thinking about stopping running.”
Matthew completed the London Marathon in an impressive 3 hours and 52 minutes. He is now looking forward to a couple of weeks off before he starts training for his next two challenges: cycling around the coast of the Isle of Wight in June, and the National Three Peaks walking challenge in July.
To sponsor Matthew and support Whizz-Kidz CLICK HERE.
Seaford College houseparent Matthew Pitteway is running the London Marathon this April, and as part of his fundraising efforts, he and his boarding house Walled Garden West sold Valentines roses across the College.
All proceeds from the sale of the flowers will go to Whizz-kidz, a disabled children’s charity that Matthew is raising money for by running the London Marathon. Whizz-kidz helps improve the lives of disabled children by providing customised mobility equipment and advice to children and families.
Taking advance orders from students, parents, and teachers, Walled Garden West took delivery of 160 roses. The flowers arrived uncut and a team of about 10 helped with the preparation of the flowers: cutting, trimming and arranging them.
On the day itself, the boys worked tirelessly delivering the flowers to their recipients all across Seaford, and they also sold all the remaining stock at break and lunchtime.
Overall, the event raised well in excess of £150 for Whizz-kidz. Matthew will be continuing his fundraising efforts not only by running in the London Marathon, but by participating in the Wokingham Half Marathon, the Richmond Half Marathon, and the Brighton Marathon. All money he raises will go to Whizz-kidz, and to sponsor Matthew please CLICK HERE.
Diana Strange, Director of Care and Welfare and Poppy’s owner, said: ‘Pupils find Poppy very soothing. She’s very therapeutic, pupils will often come and find her when they’re stressed, and she really helps to calm them down, as one pupil said, ‘you don’t have to answer to a dog.’
Year 9 student Hugo, who suffers from homesickness, goes on a weekly walk with Poppy. Hugo said: ‘At home, we have a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Elsa, who we walk every day. She always cheers me up. After my first two weeks boarding, I became homesick. I missed my family. I missed Elsa. Then I met Mrs Strange, who introduced me to Poppy.’
Hugo continued: ‘I am always very excited to walk with Poppy and Mrs Strange. Poppy really helps me to relax, and Mrs Strange and I can talk about anything. Poppy helped me bridge the gap between home and school. I really enjoy boarding now, after one and a half terms the other boarders are like my brothers.’
James Passam, Deputy Head, said: ‘The Pastoral Team offer something truly unique at Seaford. I believe that every houseparent should have a dog.’
The CCF also has its own dog, Hastings, a black Labrador. CCF members visit Hastings during exams, and stroke him to help them calm their nerves. Jackie Kyte, Hastings’ owner, said: ‘It’s just kids and dogs; it’s really good for them.’
Walled Garden West organised a variety of fundraising events: from film nights to fancy dress walks, from runs to cycle rides. One event involved a cycle ride from Seaford College, Petworth, to the original site of the school at Corsica Hall, Seaford. Staff, students and parents cycled the 50 miles, setting off at 8am and arriving at 6pm.
Sharky White, Director of Operations for The C Group, and Tom Wilson, Chairman of The C Group, came to Seaford to receive the cheque from Headmaster John Green, and pupils from Walled Garden West. Tom Wilson said: ‘we were overjoyed and humbled by the kind generosity and efforts displayed by all those involved.’
‘To raise £1600 for Royal Marines in Need was a fantastic effort by all involved. The monies raised will contribute to our continuing support of Royal Marines and their families, who have served on behalf of all of us in the past, and no doubt will continue to do so in the future.’
As a mark of their gratitude, Sharky White and Tom Wilson presented Walled Garden West with a limited edition print of Royal Marines in action, which will be framed and hung up in the boarding house.
Matthew Pitteway, houseparent at Walled Garden West, is running the London Marathon in April for Whizzkidz, a disabled children’s charity. To sponsor him, CLICK HERE.
For how long have you been a boarder?
I joined Seaford in September, so I started boarding then. I had never boarded before that, so it has been quite a big change. But I am really enjoying it, especially the social side of boarding, as I’m getting to know lots of different people.
What are you studying?
I am studying for A Levels in Physics, Maths, IT and Psychology.
What kind of activities do you get involved in at Mansion?
I do the pilates class and this Thursday we’re having a pizza and movie night, which I am really looking forward to. I’m a weekly boarder, but I do stay on the occasional weekends to take part in the trips. I went on the Continue reading
Angie Prince-Iles is Head Houseparent of Mansion, the Girls Boarding House at Seaford College. Parents of pupils have thanked her for ‘all the wonderful care, love, and support’ she has shown to their children, commenting how it is ‘really reassuring knowing that she is a mother figure in our absence.’ We had a conversation with Angie about what it’s like to be a houseparent and to look after the 24 girls in the boarding house, as well as finding out what life is like for the boarders at Mansion.
What opportunities are there for boarders at Mansion?
We have a Head of House, a Deputy Head of House, and House Prefects. The girls can air their opinions at the Girls Boarding Meeting, which is run by the Prefects and the Head of House. We give our boarders life skills; for example we have a kitchen rota and girls are asked to keep their rooms’ neat and tidy which teaches the girls how to take responsibility. We promote other life skills like cooking; recently we baked cakes for charity, as well as giving the girls the opportunities to join in evening clubs and events such as Greenpower, Music and Drama performances. We also like to celebrate different cultures in the evening, so the girls can get a good understanding of different backgrounds.
Are there any activities for boarders at the weekends and in the evenings at Mansion?
We have a lot of weekend trips. On Friday nights the students go to Sainsbury’s to stock up on their basics, and then Saturdays are usually shopping trips to places like Chichester. On Sundays, we visit places of cultural importance like Stonehenge. The weekend activities we offer are very good; other schools just don’t offer the things that we do. The girls really appreciate the trips, and they have a say in where they get to go. At the beginning of the year we have a house bonding trip, and this year we went bowling. Some evenings the girls have a pizza night or go to the cinema. We also do pilates, yoga, and aerobics in the evenings. We have a beauty night coming up; one of the teachers is also a beautician, so the girls will learn how to do manicures and facials. We are also looking into having a sign language workshop.
What do you think the students get out of their boarding experience?
I think they’re very settled at Mansion. The boarders don’t have a journey home in the evenings, and they have an environment in which they can relax and also know that they can get their prep done. We monitor academic performance closely within the house, using boarders challenge grades to set individual targets every few weeks. As a Housemistress I read all of my boarders’ reports and discuss both these and any other feedback I receive from their teachers with them. There are also lots of staff on site to help them with their prep too. If they are struggling, I promote group work, and they really bounce off one another then. The older girls really like to help the younger ones; one of our Year 12s is a great mathematician and helps out the other boarders. Also, the girls get a social aspect in the evenings that Continue reading
Matthew Pitteway is running the London Marathon this year for Whizzkidz (a disabled children’s charity). Matthew’s boarding house (Walled Garden West) is helping him with the fundraising and will sell roses on Friday 13th for Valentine ’s Day.
We are taking advanced bookings. If you would like to order one then please email Matthew – Pitteway@seaford.org
Roses are £3 each (or 2 for £5) and all come wrapped in heart printed cellophane.
Matthew is a keen fundraiser and recently cycled with students from Seaford College in Petworth over the South Downs to the old Seaford College site in Seaford, East Sussex, CLICK HERE to read more.
For how long have you boarded at Seaford?
For seven years, as a weekly boarder. I am now in the Sixth Form studying A Level Geography, Business Studies and PE.
What was it like moving away from home to board?
I started boarding when I was 11. When I first arrived they made it clear that students do get homesick, but there were just so many things to do all of the time, I got distracted from ever feeling homesick. It was really nice, I really settled in very quickly, it’s like a massive sleepover and I really enjoyed it. Boarding makes you a lot more organised, and all the facilities you need are onsite, which is fantastic.
How does boarding at Heden Hall compare to your experience of boarding at the other houses?
Heden is a lot more grown-up. Everyone in Heden is deciding what they want to do in the future: whether they’re going to university, having a gap year, or getting an army scholarship. If you want to go to university, Continue reading
Tony Phillips has been a houseparent of the Upper Sixth boarding house Heden Hall for the last ten years. During this time, he has had a profoundly positive impact on the lives of many students, with one former pupil describing him ‘as possibly the most inspirational person I have met in my life.’ Another former student said: ‘he gave me the confidence and the drive I have today; I could not be where I am today without his help and guidance.’
How does one become an ‘inspirational’ houseparent? We caught up with Tony Phillips to find out, and to discover what life is like for students who board at Heden.
What is the most important thing about your role as a houseparent?
I see my first and fundamental priority as ensuring that each and every student comes through the Upper Sixth safely and happily. By safely I mean that they are not subjected to any forms of bullying or any negative or detrimental peer pressure, and by happily I mean that they are achieving their potential. My overall role is to make sure that they achieve their academic potential.
What do you enjoy about being a houseparent?
I make a difference to the lives of young people, and I make a positive difference to the lives of the individual. It’s the best job in the school. Part of my role is about moral leadership. I try to make the students believe that in order to get fulfilment, it is important to live their lives not just for themselves, that they must strive to help others. There is no fulfilment in living life for oneself. As humans we have a duty to right wrongs, serve man, and do justice.
How do you go about being a houseparent?
I do try to treat the students like adults. In that way there is a sense of empathy, and we build up a feeling of trust. I like to converse rather than dictate. So I will explain why they can’t do something and the consequences of their actions, rather than telling them simply ‘no.’ I also have an open door policy; the students know they can come to talk to me with a degree of confidence, and there is always the support of the excellent pastoral staff.
What opportunities are there for boarders at Heden?
There are opportunities for leadership in the Heden Cabinet, which is a student body we have in the boarding house. They meet and come up with various ways of changing the environment around them. I appoint students to various roles: head of a particular wing, head of a corridor, head of social events, head of international students and fulltime boarders. Everyone’s views are heard. Full-time boarders go Continue reading
11 students, staff and parents from Walled Garden West, cycled the 50 or so miles from Seaford College, Petworth to the site of the original school – Corsica Hall in Seaford. They cycled over the South Downs and after setting off at 8am, eventually arrived cold, wet and exhausted at 6pm. The team are raising funds for The C Group, a charity inspiring businesses to support Royal Marines in need. This is the second event completed by Seaford for the charity and Seaford have already raised over £750, and are well on the way to beating the target of £1000. Well done to all those taking part, outstanding effort and a huge amount raised so far! The C Group said: “your support is sincerely appreciated.”
Seaford College moved out of Seaford itself in the 2nd World War – to temporary accommodation in Worthing. After the war was over the school Governors took the decision that there was limited scope to expand in a town centre and began to look for suitable accommodation nearby. Eventually, Lavington Park was found and in 1946 the then Headmaster Charles Johnson, moved the whole school to its current site.
If you would like to sponsor them and support The C Group, please use the link to the Virgin Money Giving Site: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/WGW.
Congratulations to Georgie Sims who has been appointed Head of Girls in the Middle School and Kasia Miliam as Head of Girls Sixth Form. The roles are to support the girls at Seaford and offer an immediate ‘go to’ person for the girls. Both have ambitious and exciting plans for the girls at Seaford.
1. How long have you worked at Seaford College and in what roles?
I started working at Seaford in September 2011 having just graduated from The University of Chichester. I have been teaching PE alongside many other very rewarding and enjoyable roles, such as a tutor, head of Charmandean house, assistant head of year nine and now Head of girls in the middle school.
2. When you were at school did you always want to be a netball coach?
I have played netball since I can remember. I also enjoyed helping out with some of the younger teams at my club as I grew up. I think coaching netball was where my love for teaching actually came from. Coaching the girls here at Seaford has been such an incredible experience, watching them make so much progress. I had so many compliments last season about our senior girls’ team, and how lovely they were, that it just made me so proud. I am hoping for another fantastic season this year for all teams!
3. Why is it that girls mainly play netball?
Netball is a very traditional game for girls to play across the UK. It is a fast and dynamic game that requires a high amount of speed and strength, combined with the ability to discipline your body. The game has developed a great deal in the past 10 years, with far more TV exposure and awareness. I actually found at University that the males on the course fell in love with netball and really worked hard to learn the disciplines of the game. The boys and girls here had great fun playing in the mixed netball tournament last season, which we aim to repeat this year as it was such a huge success.
4. What is your new role at Seaford and what does it entail?
I have really enjoyed my first term as head of girls in the middle school. I feel that I know the girls really well anyway, and hope that I am an approachable person to act as another level of support for our girls. We are so very proud of each and every one of them and want to ensure that their education is a very positive one! The first half term has seen a lot of nagging about uniform, but I must say that the girls really are making an effort to take more pride in their appearance. My aim is to teach them all that they do not need make up and short skirts to feel good about themselves and to have the confidence to not let these worries affect them as much as they sometimes do. It has been fantastic to start our girls meetings in the pink house, which are a great opportunity to chat openly about school life. There shall be more of this to come as the year progresses.
5. What are your key attributes that got you the role?
I like to think that I am approachable, as I have mentioned, meaning that the girls can always come to me with any worries or concerns. I genuinely care about the students and really want for them to do their best in school. I like to be really organised and hope that this will help me to plan some exciting things for the girls this year. I really give my all to everything I do and intend to make sure I do a good job looking out for our girls.
6. Did you board at school?
I did not go to boarding school, but have said on many occasions over the past couple of years how much I would have loved to have boarded at a school like this. I see how much work the girls get done during their time in the evenings and how much fun they also have; mixing all of this with spending more time with your friends; I am sold on the whole idea of boarding!
7. What is boarding at Seaford like for girls?
The house this year has had a lovely feel to it. The new ideas that Miss Prince Isle has brought to the house have taken the house from strength to strength. The quiet reading time is really working well and has helped mean that the prep time is calm and productive for all. The girls have heaps of freedom in their spare time to socialise with friends and take part in various activities. It seems a very happy and positive place to be right now, which is reflected in the fact that we are bursting at the seams.
8. Do you live onsite? If so what’s it like living at Lavington Park?
I have just moved into mansion house at the end of the summer holidays. I am so fortunate to be living in such a beautiful flat and not many people can say that they live in a mansion. The park is just stunning and I cannot wait to get a dog and really start to make the most of the grounds. The boarding house is very vibrant and a friendly place to be and I love that so many other people are on site too.
9. What events do you hope to plan in your new role?
I do not want to give too much away, but we have been talking as a school about ways that we can get the students to socialise more outside of their usual friendship group and to develop strong relationships with others. I am hoping that this will be an exciting year.
10. Your job is very busy what do you do in your spare time to relax?
My first love was netball. I am fortunate enough to still play on a Sunday in regional league, which is hard work but so very rewarding. I think it is really important to keep doing the things that you love if you can fit them in around a busy schedule. Having had to limit the amount of netball that I do has made it even more precious to me. I spent my childhood playing netball every day of the week! I also like to see friends and family whenever I can and really look forward to holiday time when I can catch up with all of the people that I go months on end without seeing.
1. How long have you worked at Seaford College and in what roles?
I joined Seaford in September 2006 to work as a maths teacher. I later became Second in the Maths Department supporting Mr Kettlewell. I have also worked on creating the Option Blocks for years 9 and 12, with the aim of enabling all to pursue their chosen subjects.
2. When you were at school did you always want to be a maths teacher?
In the sixth form I changed my mind about what I wanted to study at University, I ended up choosing Maths over Law. It was after I had finished my studies at Bristol University and then taken a gap year abroad, that I decided that I wanted to teach maths.
3. What is the most exciting thing about teaching maths?
From my point of view it has always been about the challenge of solving problems. Maths helps to develop the problem solving skills which everyone needs at some point. I find it intriguing to observe as students use what they have learnt to go on to develop strategies of their own, to tackle and overcome difficult problems. It makes me feel proud to see what they have achieved.
4. What is your new role at Seaford and what does it entail?
I will be Head of Sixth Form Girls. In short, my job will be to ensure the highest standard of girls’ care in the Sixth Form. I will be working closely together with Miss Sims. We want to strengthen the support network for all girls in the school.
5. What are your key attributes that got you the role?
I don’t know exactly! I hope that my genuine enjoyment of working with the Sixth Form came across. I have been inspired by watching our students progress through the school and become confident, well rounded individuals by the time they leave. I remain in contact with some of the girls who have left the College, and enjoy hearing about their lives at University, their aims for the future and also their reflections back on their time at Seaford. This has given me insight into our strengths, and also what can be built upon further; I hope to apply this knowledge and understanding in order to improve the overall provision for our students.
6. Your job will be very busy what do you do in your spare time to relax?
Life will be very busy! I have an adorable baby daughter; I love spending time with her and watching her grow and learn. I am making the most of the remainder of my Maternity Leave before returning full-time to Seaford in March 2015.
7. Being on Maternity Leave, do you miss Seaford?
Yes, although I love every minute with my daughter too. I have the best of both worlds at the moment: I remain in close and daily contact with some of my colleagues and I am absorbed in planning for my new role. It is all very exciting. Taking this temporary step back to care for my daughter has helped me to better appreciate the qualities Seaford has, especially its strong sense of community. Between our students, there is such a wealth of experiences and skills and cultural backgrounds, and we have a framework of extremely supportive members of staff. I miss particularly these aspects of Seaford.
Steve Paxton the Seaford College hockey coach represented his country South Africa for several years before turning to coaching hockey internationally for the SA ladies squad. He joined Seaford in 2011 to continue to nurture progress in their run of success on the pitch and has enjoyed a career of 22 years in the game playing and coaching. Steve is housemaster to 40 pupils at Seaford and has very useful links to hockey foundations internationally. Like so many gifted sportsman, Steve had a choice in which sport to pursue as a child. He was school buddies with Jonty Rhodes the SA cricket batsman and possibly the best fielder the game has seen. In a chat aged 18, Jonty confirmed that he would be staying with cricket whilst Steve suggested hockey was for him.
Have you always enjoyed sport?
Football was my life growing up in Africa as my dad played professionally for Huddersfield when he was younger. At the same time I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to ride a champion showjumping horse. It was ever so easy riding such a great horse, all I had to do was guide him through the right combinations and he would do the rest. During that period I was so busy representing my country at football and riding that my school work never really peaked!
Did you always know that hockey would be your sport?
Football was what I dreamt of playing professionally and it nearly came to fruition but we then moved further south in Africa and my chance was gone. I changed my outlook and decided to take on the challenge of hockey and cricket, and within three years I was representing my country in hockey and county at cricket. My best memory of when I had to choose between hockey and cricket was when I spoke to my team-mate Jonty Rhodes and he said he was going to stick with cricket. I said “no thanks, five days in the sun over and over again; not for me” – look at what he achieved in his career! At school I was so busy with sport – scratch golfer, number one at tennis, cricket captain, hockey captain, basketball team, swimming team . . . I nearly forgot that education was more important than the sporting achievements I was striving for!
Has anyone inspired you in your sporting career?
At the early stages of my hockey career I was always interested in coaching and my mentor Brian Edwards was, I believe, one of the best tactical coaches in the world. At 18 I started coaching various teams and very soon was coaching and playing for the provincial side and coaching the ladies provincial squad, then being chosen to coach the ladies national team. I did Civil Engineering after school but was still more interested in sport than anything else. I eventually retired from playing competitively and concentrated only on coaching.
How did you get to coach at Seaford College?
After two World Cups as head coach and an international career (playing and coaching) spanning 22 years, my family and I were very lucky to be offered a teaching position in the UK at a school in East Sussex, and to coach university and club teams. We spent three years there and the school won every age group county title for boys in the same year (both my sons were members of the teams that year – made me very proud). I then moved to Seaford College and we implemented my five-year plan in 2011-12. This year has been a record-breaking one for hockey at Seaford. Our plan has the community at heart and we can see that by the free master class sessions for prep schools held every year, and the links with USA universities for all local pupils to have the option to receive a scholarship from the university and have that university as an option when they leave school. This is just a small part of the overall plan. My wife Angie and I are also house parents to 40 plus boys at Seaford College and love every minute of our job.
What is the best memory of your career?
During my career I have coached in North America and consulted to Barbados and Gibraltar Hockey, and come across some amazing athletes. My best memory was when I was coaching at a World Cup in Germany. After a day’s play I was sitting with the German ladies coach and asked him “why do you have so many video technicians at your games?”. I will never forget his reply: “Do you want to win this game or not? It’s too late to analyse why you lost after the game. I have my staff analyse the opposition while the game is progressing; they see their habits and plays and report back to me, which I then tell the players who can then counter them and go on to win this game – not the next.” This put my coaching methods on a totally different track.
Seaford College boarders had a great day out this weekend at the Tower of London, a fantastic attraction to visit. Fortunately the drive to London was pretty reasonable and the weather was dry (for the most part at least). The pupils managed to get round to virtually all of the exhibitions and saw all of the sights. The Crown Jewels were obviously awe inspiring and the torture chambers proved very popular as well!
Mr and Mrs Thorpe did an excellent job of organising the trip and the logistics ran like clockwork with all students having a pack to read and a map to guide them round.
The boarders hope to visit London once more this term, on the final weekend, to see the lights on Oxford Street and to do some Christmas shopping. A visit to Kensington Palace is planned for the New Year.
Today we played our first father and sons golf tournament to raise money for the British Forces Foundation. The first round was a family affair with fathers and sons taking alternate shots over the nine holes. The winners of this competition were the Danes (Alex and his father) who very impressively scored 20 points over the 9 holes to win by a 2 point margin over Ben Sweeney and his father.
After a short brunch in the mansion we then set out to play the second nine holes. This time it was fathers against sons in a match play competition. After some very tense games the fathers won one match (by one hole), the sons won one match (by one hole) with the final game being tied. The result therefore was a tie.
We headed to the Cricketers for refreshment and the prize giving and were very fortunate that throughout the whole day we managed to avoid any rain.
Thank you for everyone for taking part – we raised £125 for the charity – a great start for the fundraising for the term.