Across the Easter Holidays we were thrilled to see pupils enjoy several opportunities to travel across the globe representing the School on sporting tours, and enjoying a variety of exhilarating adventures. Having a global and local perspective is an important element in creating rounded, open-minded and curious pupils who are socially aware and high-quality trips and expeditions add enormous value to a pupil’s time at St John’s.

Shamwari Conservation Trip

A group of Lower Sixth pupils spent two weeks at the world-renowned Shamwari game park in South Africa. The conservation trip is unique and exciting opportunity where pupils are given the chance to work alongside the conservation team, with the focus on making a difference.

Pupils helped the conservation team with tasks such as alien vegetation removal and road maintenance, and supported the long-term projects and ambitions of the reserve. During safari drives, pupils learnt tracking skills and whilst learning more about conservation, animal trade and poaching, they were lucky enough to have sightings of the big five!

The night sky was a breath-taking canvas of stars, and the sounds of the bush came alive around us. We were treated to the rumbling of a herd of elephants in a field, with the sound of hippo grunting in the distance. It was a truly magical experience, and we felt privileged to be able to witness the natural beauty of this magnificent country under the stars.

We made memories which I am sure will go on to shape our futures for the better. South Africa is an experience that I will never forget, I long to bask in the harsh rays of the sun once again and witness the majesty of the wild. We may have left South Africa, but South Africa will stay with us forever.

Greg (pupil)

UAE Sport Tours

Cricketers from Fourth Form through to Sixth Form were excited to go on a fantastic tour to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The tour was an excellent opportunity to play cricket at a high level whilst making memories and enjoying new cultural experiences.

The tour involved fantastic fixtures against local schools including Dubai College and local clubs. Pupils were also able to enjoy a packed itinerary with further activities including a 4×4 desert safari and evening BBQ, and a day trip to the Wild Wadi Waterpark!

Alongside the cricket tour, the senior netball tour in Dubai and Abu Dhabi was also a huge success, with well-matched fixtures played at incredible facilities and wonderful excursions.

During the tour, five fixtures were played between the Dubai Sevens Stadium and the Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi. In addition to this pupils had a mixture of training sessions which included skills sessions, strength and conditioning, pool recovery, CrossFit and a morning of paddle boarding on the Palm! During rest days pupils enjoyed exploring the culture of the UAE at the Jumeriah Mosque, and had great fun visiting Yas Waterworld, Yas Marina Grand Prix Track and Dubai Mall.

Ski Trip

For the first time in four years we were overjoyed to see the return of the annual ski trip! 40 pupils visited Auron in Southern France, where pupils were able to experience skiing in the magical surroundings of the authentic French ski resort. Pupils were of mix of abilities, from total beginners to very experienced. All pupils showed a great level of progression during the week, and the beginners made it to the red runs by the last day!

It was great to see pupils learning as well as skiing for fun - I saw groups trying out tricks, as well as doing a slalom race., and some even did a jump!

Alex Kendall - Head of Outdoor and Adventurous Activities

Classics Trip to Athens

Pupils studying classical civilisation visited Athens, Greece, for four days and relished the unique experience of exploring Greece, the birthplace of European civilisation from the Minoan and Mycenaean civilisations which ruled Crete and the Aegean to the great Athenian philosophers including Plato and Aristotle of the Hellenistic period. The trip began in the capital, Athens, with a tour of this unique city, visiting the emblematic Acropolis with its museum, Propylaea Gate, Erechtheion Temple and the Parthenon dedicated to goddess Athena.

From Athens, the group travelled to Olympia and explored its phenomenal archaeological site, surrounded by stunning scenery. Pupils then visited the Olympia archaeological site, which gives its name to the Olympic Games, as it was here where the first Greek Olympics were held in 776 BC to honour God Zeus, King of Gods. The trip was packed with fun educational activities, tasty traditional foods such as loukoumades and souvlaki, and team competitions, all focused on creating a memorable link between pupils’ theoretical knowledge of ancient Greece and the phenomenal ancient monuments.

DofE Gold Canoeing

For the first time Gold DofE expeditioners had the choice between walking and canoeing! From Wednesday 12 April pupils headed off on their practice expedition, which due to flooding and red warnings on the Thames meant a last minute change of location to lakes near Dorchester and then to the Grand Union Canal. Pupils were taught basic canoe handline, group management, safety and emergency procedures, and everything else they need to know to become independent canoeists. They had a lot of fun in the evenings with a large camp fire and card games. Pupils are now looking forward to their qualifying expedition on the River Wye in July.