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The Explorer newsletter Autumn 23

23 Jan 2024 |

By Chris Calvey


Read all about it! News from the Autumn term 2023

12 hour basketball-athon for children in need

A massive thank you to our amazing Great Walstead community for taking part in our Basketball-athon for Children In Need. We raised a jaw-dropping £8,658.04 (including Gift Aid).

Every year group took part throughout the day from Pre-School to Year 8, shooting hoops and perfecting their dribbling skills. There was a lot of added excitement as the BBC South East crew rolled in to capture a little of the action.

Thank you to everyone involved for their support on and off court. We are very grateful to those players (pupils, staff, parents and OGWs) who came in before and after school to keep the basketball bouncing and a special Pudsey high-five to Mr Lloyd and Mr Hadow for their heroic efforts during their 12 hours on the court. They managed to complete the challenge, injury free and still smiling!

A truly amazing achievement – thank you Walstead!

"It was a great experience and I really enjoyed playing basketball with children from different year groups; everyone came together to show our support for this charity." Thomas

"Mr Lloyd and Mr Hadow showed great perseverance when they played all 12 hours of basketball, they helped inspire us to power through our sessions.” Robyn and Tanya


Our new outdoor classroom was officially opened by our pupils and members of FOGWA. 

The votes were counted, and the chosen name is “Hagrid’s Hut”

The children have been enjoying using Hagrid’s Hut frequently this term and will continue to do so for lessons, story time, snacks, breaktimes and much more…

A huge thank you to FOGWA for funding this wonderful and already much-loved addition to our school.

If you would like to get involved with what FOGWA does, please email
gwfogwa@gmail.com. We are always looking for more people to join our team


Year 2 had an awesome afternoon with Rainbow Theatre London where theywere all involved in re-enacting the events of the Great Fire of London, and even surprised the real actors at the end by performing the song and signs they had learnt in the morning with Miss Laflin and Mrs Parpworth. Their day started with bread making in the dining room with Chef Simon, followed by burning down the Tudor houses that they’d made in art and DT over several weeks which is always a highlight!

Victorian Days

The Autumn term began for the Juniors with a visit from a time travelling Victorian called Sarah Guppy. She was an inventor who worked with Isambard Kingdom Brunel and spoke to the children about her work. She asked for their help designing an invention and explaining life in 2024.

Later in the term, we visited Michelham Priory dressed as maids, servants, Lords and Ladies and learnt what life was like during the Victorian era.

Back at Walstead, we learnt about what school would have been like for a Victorian child and saw parts of our school that we’d never seen before. Our Archivist, Dr Hughes spoke to the children about the history of our school and shared pictures and other artefacts.

The term ended with a Christmas themed extravaganza where we embroidered designs to create Christmas cards, made crackers, pomanders and toys before singing a few carols around the Christmas tree.


Get to know Charlie Lee, Head of Maths. 

GWS Newspaper Autumn 23 1920x1080 0019 Charlie Lee

What was your favourite book as a child?

My favourite book was ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton. I loved the character Mrs Wishy Washy who threw all her dirty washing water at anyone that she didn’t like!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I would love to live in Cornwall: it has such amazing beaches. It is my plan to retire there and have a house by the sea.

What do you wish you’d done at school that you didn’t choose to do or couldn’t do?

I really wish I had been braver and auditioned for school plays, I was always afraid I wouldn’t be able to remember my lines.

Harvest Festival

We received a huge thank you from the Haywards Heath Food Bank for the 478kg of food that you so kindly donated to our Harvest Festival collection and the 430 advent calendars for the festive season. We hope to continue our support of our local food bank with a collection in the Summer Term.

An Action Packed Term

Once again, we have had a very busy term on the sporting front. Our Prep school pupils have performed with success but, more importantly, with great sportsmanship. Our U13 girls looked to secure a third straight IAPS national final and fell agonisingly short. They can certainly feel very proud of the progress that they made throughout the season. At the time of writing, the U13 boys football team have made it through to the quarter finals of the national ISFA shield after an impressive last 16 victory away to Westminster Under School. Fingers crossed that the run continues…! Earlier this term, we also saw the inaugural Pre-Prep vs Prep parents football match. The Pre-Prep side edged a close game with a 3-2 win this year. Will there be a comeback from the Prep parents next year!?

GWS Newspaper Autumn 23 1920x1080 0018 U13 Boys ISFA Squad
GWS Newspaper Autumn 23 1920x1080 0017 U13 Girls Hockey
GWS Newspaper Autumn 23 1920x1080 0016 Parents Football

A visit to the GURDWARA

Year 7 enjoyed a trip to a Sikh place of worship called a gurdwara. Our Sikh guide explained that Sikhs believe in equality, kindness and helping others. Because of these beliefs, the Gurdwara opens at 5:00am every day to feed the homeless people in the area, in fact they serve 10,000 free meals a day. The pupils left the Gurdwara with new knowledge and understanding about a different religion and a different culture

GWS Newspaper Autumn 23 1920x1080 0007 under the sea


After only being in Year 1 for a matter of weeks, Elm and Maple children went to the Blue Reef Aquarium in Hastings to enhance their Under the Sea topic. We met all sorts of interesting underwater creatures, including Blueberry the Turtle! We were complimented on our Respectful Rhino attitude, owing to our polite manners and good listening. An exciting part of the day was eating our packed lunch outside, looking out to sea, whilst defending our sandwiches from some cheeky seagulls! Lastly, we had our first Beach School where we created floor pictures using pebbles, shells and other natural resources.


The children at Great Walstead have shone on the stage in a great variety of performances this term. With dazzling costumes, stellar performances, and fabulous singing from all the year groups, the Chapel has well and truly been the place to be for audiences who were delighted with what they saw.

A huge well done to all the children involved and huge thanks from the Performing Arts Team for all the support along the way.

Music makers

It has been joyous to witness pupils’ passion for music and to encourage confidence and enjoyment across all activities. The Chamber Choir has grown immeasurably with pupils in Years 5-8 embracing new material and developing their skills. Pupils also signed up to play in the first Teatime Concert of the year, displaying a wide variety of instrumental talent.

With excellent Nativity performances from the Pre-Prep, they certainly had the ‘cute’ factor. The Juniors worked diligently to master all their ‘Sherlock and Cinders’ numbers and sang with excellent expression and joy throughout.

At our Middles Christmas Concert there were pBuzz trombones, recorders and even boom-whackers in the mix as the children sang, played and danced with aplomb! Closing the term’s musical events was the Senior Carol Service at All Saints Church, Lindfield. The Chamber Choir and selected soloists performed with exceptional musicality and sensitivity, giving the occasion a beautiful atmosphere.

Show Jumping

Our Equestrian team were in action at the Hurst College Inter Schools Team and Individual Show Jumping Competition. Ethan and Ruby jumped beautiful clear rounds and were unlucky not to be placed in the first class. In an incredibly competitive Class 2, Lucy, Henry, Florence and Charlotte rode to
victory claiming first position in the team element. Florence also took the individual first place, with Lucy second and Milly fifth. A great day’s competing by all.

GWS Newspaper Autumn 23 1920x1080 0013 Winning Team

Coffee mornings

GWS Newspaper Autumn 23 1920x1080 0012 best courtyard

A reminder that our Head’s Coffee Mornings take place every Friday in term time, straight from drop-off. Enjoy a catch up and complimentary coffee, in the Artists’ Courtyard, next to the Uniform Shop.

GWS Newspaper Autumn 23 1920x1080 0011 macmillan logo

Thank you all for your very generous donations at our Macmillan Coffee Morning. We raised £283.83 for this wonderful charity. Thanks also goes to our Executive Chef, Simon, for the freshly baked doughnuts. They were yummy!

OGWs - Our Alumni

We have an active and growing community of Old Great Walsteadians, ex pupils, parents and staff. 

If you would like to join our OGWs and be kept informed of our news and events please click on the link below. 

Find out more


31 Days. 31 Drawings By Koh, Year 7

1. Family, 2. Nature, 3. Love, 4. Food, 5. Ocean, 6. Holiday, 7. Buildings, 8. Circus, 9. Kindness, 10. Great Walstead, 11. Pets, 12. Sport, 13. Pattern, 14. Sweets, 15. Explorer, 16. Danger, 17. Friendship, 18. Sunshine, 19. Transport, 20. Fashion, 21. Colour, 22. Spider, 23. Hobbies, 24. Flowers, 25. Spiral, 26. Christmas, 27. Feather, 28. Music, 29. Dream, 30. Halloween Party

Download The Explorer

Click below to download a print-ready copy of the Autumn term 2023 Explorer. 

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