HMS Illustrious

Value, Challenge and Inspire!

   Feb 08


It’s taken us a bit of time to adjust back to daily school life; everyone’s missing the farm….the place….the animals…..even the poo!!!

Now we’re back into the swing of things and beginning to work towards that date in May when we take our end of key stage exams. We have begun to use a maths practice site called ClassPet. Miss Carty can set us tasks that relate to what we are doing in school. We can give feedback about how we are doing and she can reply to that too. The best thing is….we can do this AT HOME too!! That means all our parents can help us out and see what we’re doing in maths. At the moment, we need lots of practice with shape names and properties. Here’s the hyperlink:   ClassPet link

Landscape of Longing

Over the half term, our homework is to complete and cover our Nethercott books, using the task list in our Personal Organiser. This is a book with our weekly themed tasks in it, which is a preparation for secondary school. The Nethercott book should be a great record of our wonderful week in Devon; something to treasure.


   Jan 26



The Pixton Brook valley looking towards Innocents' Breach

We just can’t believe it; a whole week in Devon is nearly over. Today we have just 2 farm jobs and the rest of the day is our own. It was the usual 10 points for sleeps last night and the Best Dorm competition is very tight; only 2 points between first and second. It all rests on the last tidy-up before we leave….

At Bridgetown today we whizzed through our pre-breakfast jobs of feeding the beef cattle, the young sheep and the cows with calves. The beef cattle had extra straw, as the vet was coming to check the TB test results at 9.30am.

Mr B’s group were down at the dairy and feeding milk in Calf City. After breakfast of crumpets and croissants, we spent a bit of free time before tackling out visit record notebooks before lunch. After lunch, we completed our evaluation forms for Catherine before heading out to take photos – or just to chill and to prepare for Titchfield Farmers Have Talent tonight.

Titchfield Farmers certainly do have talent. We have discovered these things about ourselves as a group:  we are EXCELLENT sleepers… we can take physical hard work and keep on going…. we can do jobs we thought we never would (clearing 1 tonne of poo at a time)…we can handle animals bigger than we are….we can listen and remember (especially plant names)… we look after each other if we’re having problems….we work as a team…..we have socialised with each other and adults….. we have been saying please and thank you UNPROMPTED….

The only downside has been the number of fussy eaters in our groups. To be a good farmer you need to be used to good ‘home-baked’ food and be prepared to try new things, as your bodies need the fuel for the hard work they do.

It has been a really fab week and lots of us want to come again. Miss Carty can’t wait for next year already!!!

Mr B adds: “We are hoping you will see some of our blogging in assembly tomorrow. Year 5  have just 14 months to wait before their Nethercott adventure!  What a visit for all our children to ‘cap’ their time at Titchfield Primary- we truly believe that our mission statement for the school -Value, Inspire, Support and Challenge-all four came to life in one of THE most memorable experiences to enjoy at our FAB school!!  A HUGE  thank you to Miss Carty for  her leadership and for securing our schools ‘place’ at Nethercott in the first place and for years to come. Thanks also to Mrs Southworth who has been a quiet tower of strength and enabled us to lead another memorable adventure that I’m sure our youngsters will treasure always.”

That’s the last of our blogs from Nethercott – thanks to all our parents who have worked hard to ensure their child has been part of this year’s experience. Here’s to March 2013!!

Watch this!!! 


   Jan 25



We're wearing him out.....!!!

It’s another A1 night from the Titchfield Farmers – and wait till you see the dormitories! Yr 5 take note(no pressure…) – Candlelight and Burrow dorms are exhibition standard; not a wrinkled duvet in sight, all shoes in neat lines, all dressing gowns identically hung on bunk posts. Scary!!

Today was our last full-on work day round the farms. By now we are taking everything in our stride and we can cope with (almost) anything the farmers need us to do! Most of us spent most of the day at David’s farm – first Mr B’s group, then everyone, then just Miss Carty’s group to finish the day.

After our first job, Miss Carty’s group were back early, having ‘done’ the poultry and pigs in record time (we are really fast workers!). Mr B’s group were soon returning from Bridgetown in the bright red trailer.  We piled in to the dining room for another HUGE Nethercott breakfast ( bacon butties with our cereals and porridge).

Expeditiously (!), it was time for the second half of our tasks. Group 2 returned to the yard to take out, groom and muck out the donkeys. They really looked smart when we’d finished. Group 1 went out on a stock check walk across Parsonage Farm, past Colley’s Barn and round by Pixton Brook, via Death Hill. Check out the muddy (or worse…) faces in the photos!!

Being efficient and hard workers, Group 2 were back in good time for the shopping session before lunch. We waited in the Quiet Room for the return of Mr B’s group, but… nothing……………still nothing…..STILL nothing!  Group 2 gave up waiting and started their shopping session. Just as they were about to expire from starvation, Mr B’s group came leaping in to say that they had seen AND HELPED twin lambs to be born.  What a fantastic experience!

After lunch, we all returned to Bridgetown; first of all, we needed to remove all the flood debris from along David’s riverside fence so that future flooding would not bring the fence down. It was fun slinging branches and sticks into the river (to turn into someone else’s problems perhaps!) As we had got rather muddy and grubby picking up damp leaves and stuff, we went to the edge of the River Okement to wash off. Mr B and David had a stone skipping contest!

We saw Mr B’s group off back to Nethercott in the trailer to go to the dairy task. Group 2 stayed to feed the cattle and bed up the expectant mothers and babies. David’s son Simon was there to help us out.

It’s all in the house together this evening and we are deciding how to spend our time! Sounds like Hide and Seek again from in here where I’m blogging – Mr B is on the hunt and the children are hiding!

Check today’s photos…..

   Jan 24



Damp and misty Nethercott!

Another PEACEFUL night…. ten out of ten all round for sleeping! Today marks the halfway point of our stay – after today we can begin to call ourselves experts in all our regular jobs and we have the chance to do something a little bit different with the day.

Breakfast was scrambled eggs today – Nethercott eggs, which we or another school before us had collected. We began the day with Mr B’s group heading out intrepidly to the poultry pens and donkey field, while Miss Carty’s group had their second round of dairy jobs. Today we were led by Graham, the farmer, who helped us to understand more about dairy farming. We had to fork straw over about 80 cow stalls, as it was Tuesday, but there was some compensation – a ride in his Landrover up to Calf City to feed the littlest calves. Four of us squashed on each side of the Landrover back while Miss Carty knelt in the middle holding on to the milk containers – it was great to ride back up the hill instead of walking it.

Afterwards, Mr B’s group listened to Tom, a retired farmer who was born in the village and lived there all his life. We learned the names of over 25 hedgerow plants and their uses, as well as some of the implements old and new used on farms through the years.

Meanwhile, Miss Carty’s group were smoking it out down at the roundhouse, making charcoal and wood pendants, as well as some very attractive willow hurdles to bring back to school. Some people made dens and others learned to weave willow shapes.

After chicken curry lunch (not Nethercott chickens – we don’t eat them!) we swapped activities until teatime. HOWEVER……

BOTH groups had to go straight to work on their evening farm tasks; Mr B’s were back to Bridgetown to feed cattle and sheep, while it was Miss Carty’s group’s turn to put away poultry, pigs and donkeys. The donkeys were soaked, as it had rained gently all day. It didn’t stop us having fun though…..

Tonight’s meal was pizza and salad, yoghurt and shortcake biscuits (home made) and now we are are all at home together for a mega shower night! Tomorrow we can shop, before we are back to a full-on work day – with extra farm tasks! Hurray!!

Our Tuesday photos….


   Jan 23


The usual silence prevaded the house this morning… just like the Night Before Christmas…without the presents!! No-one was awake early again this morning, which is great for the teachers!

Bluebell at the Hairdressers!

The theme for the day in Mr B’s group was …donkeys!! Joseph the donkey is not very well and has to go back to the Sanctuary soon for a (shall we say delicate) operation which will drastically affect his donkeyhood:-(  Mr B’s group has two sessions of donkeys today – this morning and tonight as we speak. The children love it, but the staff are not so keen!

Meanwhile, Miss Carty’s group travelled on the trailer to David’s farm to feed cattle and sheep. Nothing escaped this time; David had the vet coming for the first part of his TB testing. The vet will return on Thursday to check for reactors. He’s hoping for an all-clear after one reactor last time.

The stock check walk after (pancake) breakfast was an expectant one…lots of very pregnant sheep and cows. We did hope that one might oblige while we were there, but no luck. We watched Keano the mad dog chase the tractor bucket at the  silage heap in Parsonage and leap in the air to catch bits of silage hanging off the edge. Every time we thought he would be crushed! When he got fed up with that game, he raced along the silage troughs nipping the heads of the cattle, just to show off. 

Today we met Death Hill. We rolled down it at high speed, which amused the Shetland ponies whose grass we were borrowing. One of them chased Harry; she must have thought he was a ball of interesting hay!

This afternoon we all worked at Nethercott, forking compost or, if you were REALLY lucky, forking out smelly chicken poo and giving the chicken and geese new beds. They weren’t awfully appreciative….

Tonight is a ‘one group out, one group in’ night. When we’re all back together, we’ll probably play Hide and Seek in the house – one benefit of only having 15 children; we couldn’t do it safely with 30! Then it will be hot chocolate and Mr B reading Born to Run – we’re really enjoying it as a wind down at the end of a busy day.

Nethercott 2012 Monday

   Jan 22


How peaceful it was this morning! Half past 6 came…no sound of hefty dormitory feet, no lively conversation. Just the gentle sound of….snoring!!

We all headed out for out first task on time at 7.30am. For half of us, it was mucking out the donkeys and feeding chicken and geese. For the other half, it was off on the tractor and trailer to Bridgetown Farm to feed the young beef cattle.

The morning we spent at Chapel, to meet the local villagers and have some fun with songs and stories. We sang our heads off – often at great speed! Afterwards, we were able to walk round Iddesleigh to see the Duke of York pub, where War Horse began, then the old school, where there is a painting done specially after the book became popular.

As we walked back, who should be walking up the road towards us but… Michael and Clare Morpurgo. He stopped to speak with us, which was amazing. 

After a STUPENDOUS roast lunch (home grown pork!) we headed out for a leisurely walk.

As we waded through the largest puddle in the world and sucked ourselves out of the gloopy mud, we made our way down to the River Okement. There, lurking in the shallows, was…a skeleton! Catherine and Mr B bravely waded along the back and fished it out. As they held it gingerly aloft for us to see, the head fell off back into the water, causing much screaming among the girls.  Don’t worry, it wasn’t a previous visitor; just a deer which had died some weeks earlier on the riverside.

We made it back to the house just in time for Miss Carty’s group to go off in the tractor to Bridgetown. As we arrived, a group of young cattle escaped up the road and we had to head them back to their field. While feeding the cattle, Eva got herself separated from the group and had to be rescued by David on his quad bike.

As we write, Mr B’s group are out feeding the calves and mucking out the dairy… great job!

   Jan 21


We enjoyed a really easy journey down to Devon, broken only by our lunch stop at West Bay (where we LOVE the rope play area). Everyone was interested to spot farm animals and crops along the way and we shared bits of information from the work we had already done.

We  arrived at 2.15pm to a chorus of excited screams from within the minibus; the house is amazing! Everyone unpacked after a tour of the house – and tea – before setlling down for our first night; surprisingly, most people slept well and Miss Carty even had to wake Parsonage dormitory, who sat up in bed like startled owls!

Work began at 7.30am for everyone: Mr B’s group were looking after poultryand pigs, while Miss Carty’s group walked down to the dairy to watch morning milking. They then forked two rows of silage before heading back to the best bit; feeding the calves. There were 20 and ‘calf city’ was full.

After breakfast, Mr B’s group went out to take the donkeys to the field and start the smelly job of mucking out their stables. Donkeys wee a lot and it was quite smelly… Miss Carty’s group were finding out about smell- from cow poo, LOTS of it. We cleared the dairy yard by pushing the runny stuff with yard scrapers down the hill towards the slurry pit. Everyone worked fantastically together and the job was done in record time.  

The hard work and co-operation continued after lunch when we finished clearing Colley’s Barn at Parsonage Farm, carting a line a wheelbarrows full of compacted straw and poo to another slurry pit. We did this job excellently too and were finished early.

On the way back, we saw Michael Morpurgo as he passed us in his car going home. As we write, Mr B’s group are down at Bridgetown caring for beef cattle. Miss Carty’s group are having a well-earned shower each.

A highlight of the day has to be seeing our first newborn lambs – we missed them being born by about 10 minutes!   Check our photos on

   Jan 19

War Horse South Coast Premiere

Last Tuesday, Year 6 were lucky enought to have a free viewing of Michael Morpurgo’s new film, War Horse. We went to the Action Stations cinema in No. 6 boathouse of HM Dockyard. On our arrival we were greeted by a soldier who took one look at some of our boys and said: ‘Get that hair cut!’

Once we had made it past the sentry, we were met by a Sergeant (who called Tom ‘Tank Engine’!!). We took our seats in the cinema, where there were gun positions and trenches to set the scene.

The first thing we heard was….gunfire! Drifting across the pounding of the guns came part of a World War I poem. We waited keenly for the film to begin…. and we were enthralled. The screen was HUGE and we felt really close to the story.

As the film was shown, the tragedy of what happened to horses in World War I made the story very emotional, but we enjoyed every minute.

Straight after the film, we had the chance to try on WWI uniforms and handle WWI guns, as part of a series of workshops. We matched clothes boxes to the people who wore them and taked about their roles in the War. Then we reviewed the film with someone who had studied War Horse for her degree!

Last of all, we enjoyed using the climbing walls as part of an Army Training workshop. It wa a really good day out – and we were the FIRST to see the film after the Royal Premiere in London!!

Check out our photos…War Horse photos



   May 19

Monday 16th May 2011

HMS Illustrious go to London!

 Houses of Parliament

Its so big! Amazing! There were lots of colours and pictures in this extraordinary place a lovely place to be!

“The houses of parliament was massive im amazed!” thought Sophie

The one and only Big Ben just toped it of for us. It was truly great!  We even got to speak to our local MP!

 London science museum

London science museum was great (lots of hands on activities!)

 “my favourite activity was were you had to fill up a basket with these stone type things, then watch the basket go up and tip out it was fun!” said Katie

 “my favourite thing was we had to power a meter diagram and then it would tell you what you can do by human power” said Sophie

The museum was big and had a great show room, were we saw a very good show!!!  Lucy, who put on a fab show and we learnt how science realy could be fun!         

Written by Sophie and Katie

   May 19

                            London Times

Houses of Parliament

On Monday 16th May 2011, we in H.M.S Illustrious went to The Houses of Parliament at 8:34am.

“The Houses of Parliament was enormous from the view we were standing at!” said Simran

There was a lot of security by the door as the guards checked our bags and took a picture of us and attached it to a lanyard.

(A cord worn round the neck)

In the Parliament there were magnificent paintings of the previous Royal family, the one that really stood out to me was the Queen Victoria painting from many years ago.

Buckingham Palace

After that we went to Buckingham Palace which was an extraordinary structure, with a marvellous golden statue.

“I think Buckingham Palace was astonishing!” said Simran

The statue in front of Buckingham Palace is called the Victoria Memorial. The statue has one heavenly and divine angel on each side and one elegant angel in the middle.

Science Museum

Then we arrived to the science museum and played some scientific games. We went to a show and we were learning about strong structures such as mountains, bridges and even eggs we managed 10 before the eggs broke.

After that Lucy the show leader asked for an adult to volunteer. Then everybody shouted “MR  RIST”! and Mr Rist laid down on his back on the piece of bread (wood), put a slice of lettuce on him (foam), then some cheese which was foam as well and then put some more bread on him and she hammered him.

Then we went to the park to have some lovely tea.


Simran & Jade