Year In Review

Here are a selection of articles written by Rossall students over the course of many weekly sessions, giving their take on a year in review. They cover subjects as diverse and diverting as dogs, football, Ross Hockey and healthy living.

Dogs of Rossall

By Holly Durnian & Alina Mukhamedzhanova

Rossall is home to many wonderful dogs, here we profile just a few of them, as there could be an Instagram account or even a whole book dedicated to just this subject.

Year In Review

Name: Stella

House: Rose

Owners: Mr Bradburn and Dr. Bradburn

Breed: Cocker Spaniel

Gender: Female

Age: 5 years

Birthday: 2nd January

Favourite present(s) to receive: Anything edible especially meat or cheese!

Favourite things to do: Swimming in the sea, sleeping and eating.

Funny Stories: Once, Stella was left alone…on the kitchen counter was a pack of 9 crumpets. Perhaps unsurprisingly, when her family returned home, only one crumpet remained. She had eaten eight crumpets but at least showed the decency to leave one crumpet for her owners. 

Every single day Stella is super excited for her tea and twirls around in circles.

Mr Roberts looked after her one weekend and, when he let her out at night, she ran all the way back to Rose and sat outside the front door.
Summary: Stella is very friendly and definitely recognises the Rose girls. Although, beware, she might bark at a non-Rose resident! She is Mr Bradburn’s shadow and it can be hard for other students to take her on a walk without him! She is scared of other animals.

Name: Maddie 

House: Maltese Cross

Owner: Mr Baker 

Breed: Border Terrier cross Layton Terrier 

Gender: Female

Age:15 years

Birthday: 12th January 

Favourite present(s) to receive: She loves lots of hugs and meat.

Favourite things to do: She’s never happier than when eating meat and, when she was younger, she used to love to chase after things.

Funny stories: Maddie once chased deer down a railway track with Mr Baker chasing after her, with a train chasing him. Don’t worry! There were no injuries and they both jumped out of the way. P.S. Mr Baker says “Don’t try this at home kids!”
Summary: She is a Daddy’s dog and as a puppy was a very naughty girl. However, in her old age, she has calmed considerably.

Name: Biscuit

House: Pelican

Owner: Mr and Mrs Dixon

Breed: Golden Retriever 

Gender: Female

Age: 5 years 

Birthday: 8th July 

Favourite present to receive: Food, food, food and more food. It really doesn’t matter what it is so long as it’s food! 

Favourite things to do: Biscuit loves to play football and would be an excellent goalkeeper on the school team. However, there is always a chance she will rip the ball to shreds so she might not be the best choice if you want the match to last 90 minutes.

Along with football, Biscuit loves spending time in the sea, although she is a bit scared of the waves.

Funny stories: Biscuit used to run off a lot in the past but she would eventually come back. Despite this fact, it often caused worry as this could take a while. On one occasion, she followed some deer to another garden where she met a goat. She had a great time playing with this goat and, by the time she was found,  it was hard to separate the two new best friends!

P.S. If you get a golden retriever, expect no personal space!
Summary: Mrs Dixon says, “Biscuit is awesome and she is the most loving thing in the world. She’s also totally bonkers in a really really really good way! If you ever see Biscuit on site then all she will ever want from you is a cuddle. Just be warned,  if you have once given her this cuddle, she will never forget you and will always want more.”

Name: Pango

House: Wren

Owner: Mr Harwood and Mrs Townsend

Breed: Labrador cross Cocker Spaniel

Gender: Female

Age: 1 year

Birthday: 18th June 

Favourite present to receive: A stick or a tennis ball and food (especially cheese, carrots and strawberries)!

Favourite things to do: Carrying things around, but not giving them back again. Running away with Mr Harwood’s socks is a particular favourite pastime! 

Funny stories: Pango went to jump over a river and missed the other edge; this is how she learnt to swim!

Summary: Pango is mad, but lovely! She is very excitable and you will always see her running around. She just wants to be loved.

Girls’ Football – A Fantastic First Year

By Holly Durnian

New this year, the girls’ football academy has already had a great start with 18 girls on the programme. After speaking with Mr Newson, I discovered that in the first year of the Boys’ Football Academy there were just 3 boys. Now with about 70 boys, the Boys’ Academy is thriving and Mr Newson sees no reason why the Girls’ Football Academy won’t be as big in years to come. Indeed, the huge progress made during this first year provides an amazing platform to build upon. 

Having competed in the ISFA U15 and U18 championships, both teams were awarded runners-up, which is an incredible achievement, especially considering that they were only 3 weeks into the programme at the time. Mr Newson, the director of football at Rossall, is full of confidence. In typically bullish fashion he states, “If I’m being super honest, we probably should have won it, but we got beaten on penalties.” Nonetheless, he was very proud of the teams and their remarkable achievement.

The academy  entered into several national tournaments this year with victory in the ISFA U18 Girls Cup 2022 a crowning moment!

The Girls’ Football Academy has a great programme with four training sessions a week and one session where they play a game. In addition, they have two strength and conditioning sessions in the gym meaning a total of seven academy sessions a week.

When asked why he decided to found the Girls’ Football Academy, Mr Newson was keen to point out that, “There are a lot of things in England and the world at large that are specifically designed for boys, but girls don’t tend to get the same opportunities within football that boys do and it’s something that I completely disagree with.” Mr Newson’s wife was a professional footballer so he has been around women’s football for quite a long time. He is adamant about the importance of making sure the girls have the opportunity to develop and progress the same way boys do. 

Tineka Jennings, the captain of the Girls’ Football Academy, is now in her second year at Rossall and she played a key role in promoting the Girls’ Football Academy. Last year, around November time, she made a promotional video, which she said, “was really fun.” Tineka went to Fleetwood Town FC as part of the academy experience and played football with some of the boys as well. She normally plays right back and is incredibly proud of the academy’s achievements in reaching the early season finas. She said, “I think we should have won, but we worked really well together. It was a good performance from everyone.” Inevitably, it is this sense of determination that led to cup final success later in the season when the team were crowned champions in the independent schools’ competition. It’s no surprise Tineka was asked to be captain as she has shown incredible leadership skills. She has previous experience in other sports and has also served the school proudly as Deputy School Captain. When asked if she liked being the girls’ football captain, her answer was, “Yeah it’s great! It’s good, I absolutely love it.” Although Tineka first played when she was 10, she stopped at the age of 14 and took a 2 year break. However, she is back to playing the game again and reaping the rewards. She has plans to continue playing football at university. 

There are often stereotypes within football with some labelling it as a man’s sport. Women are paid considerably less than men. For example, in 2019, the winning team of the Women’s World Cup received £3.2 million and, although this was double the prize money of the previous tournament, it was still almost ten times less than the men’s prize money of £29 million. It is often said that the difference in pay is due to the larger audience of men’s football. However, men’s football is promoted much more than female football. There is more coverage of the men’s games than women’s and men’s football is in the papers, meaning greater publicity. 

One of the most significant ways in which we see football is at school. If your school only has a boys’ football team, how can you expect women’s football to grow? Most professional footballers will have started football while at school age. Our school is doing an incredible job in helping to promote women’s football by starting the Girls’ Football Academy. Mr Newson said himself, “There’s been a huge drive across all girls at the school with many more now wanting to be involved with football.” He continued, “Girls’ football is seen to be very socially acceptable within school and I think that has forced people to come out and say, “Oh I really like football.” He believes the ethos and feel at school concerning football has improved greatly. 

Mr Newson is keen to stress their plans for the future which are to continue to grow the sport and participation. However, the big success for him is always linked to, “where our students are able to progress to when they leave Rossall.” He wants to help them achieve their next step, “whether that’s a scholarship in America, whether it’s a professional football club contract, whatever it looks like to that person, that’s where we see success.”

The Beginning of a New Chapter – A Year 7 Pupil’s Perspective

by Alex Jones

As I awaited my first day at Rossall, it hadn’t dawned on me yet what a fantastic impact this new stage of my education was about to have on my life. I hadn’t realised how it would introduce me to so many new opportunities in just a few days. Then the time came… my first day! 

I arrived at the bus stop and was greeted by happy smiles and an excited atmosphere. It was the start of a fresh year and I could feel that everyone else was just as thrilled as I. I was quickly introduced to the team of lovely teachers that were to teach me for the coming year. 

At first, I admit I was nervous around my teachers but it was not long until I felt my anxiety lift; in some ways it  was unfounded as the teachers were eager to support me and my work. There was a brilliant feel around school. That day, the staff seemed just as excited to have a new year in front of them and a new young class to inspire with their knowledge across subjects, some of which were completely new to me. I was quickly pushed out of my comfort zone and, in honesty, it pushed a lot of us that first week. In a way, it brought the students that went to the prep school and the non-prep school students together all the more quickly.

Another new interest the school ignited within me was rugby. I had never played rugby before the start of term; I had been to Fylde Rugby Club as a spectator many times, but participating was an exciting new aspect of the game to be explored. I currently really enjoy playing and working with my mates as a team gave me a sense of accomplishment that working alone had never given me. Despite the scores not always as we’d have hoped  on the pitch, it is off the pitch where there is a real bond in the team. I’m proud to be a part of it. 

Before the start of my first match, I was so nervous but, as soon as I got there and saw the rest of the team, I felt eased by the fact I wasn’t alone. Straight away I knew that if I tried my best and did what I could, I would be fine and at the final whistle I felt more proud than ever to be part of this team.

There have been many ‘first times’ for me at Rossall. It’s true for many that it is scary to try something new but I’ve found that when you find the courage to do it you often think, ‘what was I so worried about?’ Anxiety about new activities has been something I’ve felt a lot this year so far, but I have tried so many things that I would not normally sign up for, such as the ‘West Side Story’ production. However…I’m happier for it. Now I can’t wait for the many more challenges and opportunities that are sure to come my way in the years ahead.

Boarding Life

By Aarumina Sharma

I want to help to provide you with an insight into the boarding experience at Rossall. 

The idea of living far from your parents in general sounds scary, it sounds frightening and, to some, it quite frankly sounds horrible. 

But what if I were to tell you that it’s not so bad at all and really it’s like having a second family? 

Rossall promotes being open-minded and welcoming to others. Those aspects are central to the boarding community at Rossall and this environment helps others to improve their social skills. It helps people become mindful of others’ ideas and beliefs. It helps people to come out of their comfort-zone in a safe environment. If however, a conflict arises between students, it is immediately dealt with as boarding promises a safe and comfortable environment for everyone. 

There are numerous boarding houses at Rossall and there is only one mixed boarding house, Anchor, for pupils up to year 8 only. From year 9, you get split into different houses. 

As an Anchor pupil, I know that we mostly spend weekends out and about. On weekdays, after school, we have time to relax and interact with the other boarders, play games or watch something in the day room. Of course there is homework to complete as well!

I remember the first day I actually met everyone in the house and I was terrified. But, if there’s one thing that’s for certain, it is the fact that your boarding house will quickly feel like a home from home.

The Most Important Photograph Ever Taken

By Kai Wagner

Ever since the technology to take photographs was first discovered by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826, the human species has been in a constant race to produce more stunning photographs.

Photographs of the most amazing objects, events, animals, humans and phenomena have since been taken. As time progressed, we created technology that not just improved the quality of our images, but also the places we could take a camera to make a photograph.

A particularly important technological advancement in this respect is space exploration. The space race between the USSR and the USA during the Cold War in the 20th century greatly advanced the scientific understanding of space and our universe, as both parties were actively spending a lot of their time and resources on space exploration. Besides the commonly known outcomes of this race, such as the first larger living organism in space (the dog Laika), the first human in space (Yuri Gagarin), the first artificial, earth orbiting Satellite (Sputnik) and, of course the final and much anticipated space-race ending event, the first humans on another natural body, the moon, there have been many much lesser known events in the space race that might not have had such great political effect but certainly a great scientific one. These included the voyager spacecrafts. Voyager 1 is, today, relatively well known as the furthest man made object from earth, at a distance of over 23 billion kilometres from earth in late 2020. However, the full and much more fascinating journey of the voyager space probes is much less known and far more eye opening and fascinating. 

The 23+ billion kilometre long journey of the two sister spacecrafts Voyager 1 and 2 starts at the JPL (Jet Proportion Laboratory, USA) in 1964 when aerospace engineer Gary Flandro noticed a potentially rare alignment of the outermost 4 planets in our solar system, known as the Gas Giants (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune), that he predicted was likely to occur in the late 70s. This alignment only occurs every 175 years, as planets move at different rates around the sun, and therefore don’t meet in this position that often. Eventually scientists and engineers at JPL realised the immense potential that the alignment would have: the huge masses of the planets resulted in them having huge gravitational fields and this allowed for an object to be “sling shotted“ around the planets by using their circular motion around the sun in combination with their gravitational field. 

A group that would become known as the “Outer Planets Working Group“ was created at JPL, and funding to build and launch two unmanned space probes was secured in 1969 after the case had been made that the cost of studying the outer planets would be greatly reduced by sending two spacecrafts to study all of them, instead of sending individual spacecrafts to each planet, once the grand alignment had passed. 

What followed was the exact determination of the launch date for the space probes to be in 1977 in order to take full advantage of the sling shooting technique, as well as their development and construction of the probes. 

The finished space probes were fitted with propulsion systems, stabilising gyroscopes, communication equipment to send findings and data back to earth through NASAs deep space network, as well as 11 scientific instruments. The whole 733 kg system is powered by what is essentially a small nuclear reactor, making use of plutonium-238.

The spacecraft launched on the 5th September 1977 on board a Titan-Centaur rocket and, soon enough, delivered the first data from its close flybys of Jupiter, Saturn and Saturn’s largest moon Titan. The mission was going extremely well as new data was being collected and evaluated. Voyager is one of the main reasons to believe there is a good chance organic life exists on Titan.   

Even though the mission was supposed to end after the investigation of the gas Giant, the engineers building voyager were well aware of the great potential the spacecraft had after achieving a huge speed of 61 500 km/h through the sling shooting. They purposely and secretively built the instruments and communications gear stronger than they would have needed to for just the intended mission. This was done in the hope of using the probe after the investigation had finished to continue its exploration and to investigate areas beyond our solar system. This allows the spacecraft to still be alive and functioning to the present day.  

Eventually, however, the energy, and therefore electricity generated from the nuclear reactor began running lower and lower due to the 87.7 year half life of plutonium-238. The decision to shut down some of the scientific equipment had to be made in order to keep the others functioning. After other systems had been disabled already, the decision was made to shut down the onboard camera system. 

The camera had by this point taken some of the first and highest resolution pictures at the time of Titan, Saturn, and Jupitar. Now, however, there was little use for the camera as Voyager had left the near distance to any planets or moons, and was not predicted to meet any such objects on its continued path; it was exiting the solar system.

On the 14th February of 1990, before the camera was due to be shut down for good, Carl Sagan made one last request: turn the camera back towards earth, and take one last photograph. This was agreed upon, and then, finally the camera was shut down. About 14 hours later the pixels were received on earth, and the images were put together. At a distance of more that 6 billion kilometres from earth, the furthest picture of earth to date had been taken. It shows the earth as a pixel sized pale blue dot at the centre of the picture, with reflections of the sunlight in the camera lens, and the vastness of space surrounding earth evident. 

I believe this photograph to be the single most important picture ever taken by humanity, as it shows the relative insignificance of the earth in regards to the universe. Therefore, it shows the relative insignificance of us as a species and all our problems. Sometimes we like to believe that trivial issues are much greater and influential than they are in reality if viewed on a much larger scale. If the one pixel showing the earth on this picture was missing, we would barely notice a difference. This goes to show how the existence of earth in the grand scheme of things isn’t really that important at all. 

As humans we have the tendency to believe our existence to be such an important and significant event, when in reality it truly isn’t, looked at from this perspective. 

All things in life are just a matter of perspective. 

The energy will keep supporting the space craft until 2025, when it will stop working, and will simply be flying through the vastness of space, away from earth, carrying a record of human existence, likely for long after humans will have become extinct on earth.

All You Need to Know About Ross Hockey

By Ellie Williams

Rossall Hockey, also known as Ross Hockey, is a unique game that is a cross between Rugby and Hockey. Why is Ross Hockey unique you ask? Well because it is a sport played only at Rossall School. 

Played by both boys and girls. Ross Hockey was first referenced in the first issue of “The Rossallian” which was published in 1867, though the exact date of its creation is unknown. This sport was created because in the Lent Term the fields were too waterlogged to play Rugby, thus Ross Hockey was created. It is designed to be played on the beach, when the tides are suitable and is played with a specially designed hockey stick in addition to a playground ball. The pitch has to be drawn out on the sand before the game can be played. This is done by players pacing out the specific dimensions, “running” and “digging” the lines to create the pitch. 

To play the game you need eleven players.  Eight of these form a “bully”, two “flies” and a “back”. The aim of the game is to beat the other team by scoring the most goals. You score a goal by dribbling or hitting the ball through the posts from inside the circle. The ball can only be moved up the pitch through dribbling and no passing is allowed. All players must be behind the ball, as in rugby. The ball can be stopped with the stick or a hand but not with the feet. If the ball goes off the sideline it is in “touch” and the ball is rolled back onto the pitch similar to a lineout in rugby. Free hits are awarded for an infringement of the rules. All players must be eight metres away from the ball and the taker must wait for the umpire to blow the whistle before taking it. A “set bully” is taken at the halfway line to start the game and to restart after a goal. A “twenty bully” is taken on the twenty line opposite where the ball goes off the backline from an attacker’s stick. A “line bully” is taken two metres outside the middle of the circle after a defender hits the ball off the backline. 

Photographs of heroic Ross Hockey teams still adorn the walls of the boarding houses but the game hasn’t been played since we locked down in 2020.  We look forward to the day when the sticks are taken up, the lines run and the umpire’s whistle is heard once again on Rossall Beach.

Goats and Friends 

By Lara Dixon

My previous schools had horses and sheep, and I thought that had prepared me for odd companions during the school day. However, one of the first creatures I met at Rossall were gigantic rabbits and – wait for it – goats! 

Romeo, Hercules and Trumpet (and one might argue that these are somewhat questionable names for goats really) literally make the farm the best place to be. They are mainly looked after by students of the Junior School and Anchor House and it is not unusual that you see boys and girls being dragged by a goat on a lead across the square. Sometimes I am really not sure who is taking whom on a walk there.

Romeo, the biggest of the three goats, is by far the most misbehaved of all the goats of the three, and I believe that he is the fastest, too. He tends to jump up on you just like a dog. Hercules, on the other hand, is a very calm animal and does not run or jump up half as much as Romeo does. He is almost as big as Romeo, but greyish and white rather than his brown and white friend. 

Last but certainly not least is Trumpet; he is by far the smallest of the three goats and can struggle to keep up with the others. Trumpet does not like going on a leash, and when he is put on one, he sometimes makes loud trumpety sounds, which earned him his name. 

As I wrote before, the farm does not only have goats; it also has rabbits, guinea pigs and lots and lots of chickens. There are both big  and small rabbits, and all of them are very cute, even though some are literally the size of a sausage dog. There are quite a lot of guinea pigs, too, and most of them get on pretty well. Unfortunately two of the guinea pigs are somewhat eccentric and therefore don’t get on well with the others – they have to share with the rabbits where they are quite happy.

If you have never been to the farm yet , then you really must go to see Trumpet and his friends. Just ask any junior students and they will happily show you their favourite place.

Coming to Rossall from Hong Kong and Japan

By Hok Lai Terence Lo

Here at Rossall school we have lots of international boarding students who hail from many different countries. People from different countries often have diverse reasons for coming to study at Rossall or elsewhere in the UK. In this article I am going to talk explore some of the differences between Hong Kong and England. I also interviewed my classmate Harry from Japan, and he will also reflect upon some of the differences between life in those two countries. 

In Hong Kong, the local schools are considerably smaller than our vast 150 acre campus at Rossall, around which it can easily take five minutes to walk from one classroom or department to another. However in my old school in Hong Kong you were never more than a few seconds stroll down a corridor to your next lesson.

In terms of the content and style of delivery of lessons, I much prefer the Rossall way of doing things! Back in Hong Kong, I often found my lessons boring due to the high volume of teacher talk, even for the entire duration of the lesson, without giving me any specific task or work to complete independently. I much prefer the friendlier, more engaging style of teaching here at Rossall School, in which the teachers will provide me with a wider range of tasks to complete without talking all lesson!

Now Hong Kong is well known for being something of a “foodie heaven”. This is because back in Hong Kong, you can eat practically any food you want to and the food will undoubtedly be of an exceptional standard. In my old school, the food had a somewhat “heavy taste” but at Rossall the food is much more healthier, with plenty of salad and other options and never leaves me heavy or bloated, but always energised for whatever challenges the day might bring!

Everyone knows Hong Kong to be a busy and densely populated place. On holiday, people are always going outside which often makes the place feel very crowded. At Rossall school, I can go to the beach, have a walk or eat something outside in a calm, relaxed and enjoyable fashion and it never feels too busy or crowded.

This is my opinion about some of the main differences between life in Hong Kong and England. In Japan, they might have different opinions about their old school compared to Rossall school, so my interviewee Harry has given some opinions to me.

In Japan, the people at his old school were primarily Japanese speaking. Here at Rossall he felt a bit nervous at first because it was his first time communicating with people from different countries who spoke other languages, such as Chinese, German and Spanish. However Harry realises he need not have worried as it quickly became second nature communicating in English with his new found peers and friends.

Harry prefers the different Japanese food in his old school, whilst still enjoying what he eats at Rossall too! At the weekend, Harry enjoys going outside, taking a walk around Rossall’s beautiful campus and the local area. He particularly enjoys and appreciates our coastal location at Rossall, and finds a walk along the promenade beside the sea, especially when the sun is setting on the horizon, very relaxing indeed.

Harry has enjoyed trying lots of sports in Rossall School like cricket, a new sport for him as it is not commonly played in Japan.When he first played,he liked the game where you needed to communicate with other people, and discuss where you were going and what position you needed to field in.

Harry is enjoying school life much more overall at Rossall. In Japan, he thinks there is too much stress for students with a focus on knowledge and exams. In Rossall school, the supportive teachers make you interested in studying, wider reading and make you feel as though the work and the study is not as hard as you might have thought it would be.

Overall I think each location’s schools: Hong Kong, Japan and England have their advantages and disadvantages of studying, as I have explored in this article. Wherever you are studying it is important to make the most of the time you have, get involved and make the effort to speak in English and mix with students from a variety of different countries and backgrounds – doing so certainly helps to improve your English much faster!

Healthy Living at Rossall 

By Hugo Mace

The fast-food culture of the 21st century is practically inescapable and its advertisement is everywhere: on street signs, newspapers, films and televisions, but the most significant form of advertising for young people and students alike across the nation is social media. Locked on to their screens, in the midst of Instagram and Snapchat updates, countless minutes of promotions related to the latest McDonalds menu item and exciting new assortments of Haribo sweets are consumed visually every day. So, how do students here at Rossall avoid the epidemic of unfit lifestyles that is so common among young people today? 

Easily described as a poetic exhibition of glowing sunsets met with majestic flocks of birds soaring the skies, the coast can surely be considered the home of some truly wonderful scenery, and Rossall Beach is no exception. But to compliment it purely on its looks would be a total injustice to the many other attributes it harbours, specifically, the air. The fresh sea breeze makes it no mystery as to why Rossall was once the home of an infirmary providing well-needed nourishment to those in poor health. To this day, the environment can be credited in benefitting of those suffering from health issues. Member of the English Department here at Rossall, Mr. T. McNab claims that his daughter’s asthma was significantly alleviated upon her arrival to the area. Perhaps the Victorian concept of convalescing by the coast carried some truth after all?

Considering the school’s massive commitment to sport, it is no mystery that the environment here compliments those student athletes and their activities. The vast open campus also makes Rossall a great place for fitness; a yearly cross country competition is a great example of how this is utilised but students are free to do this any time and can often be seen running along the stretching promenade right on their doorstep throughout the year.

Speaking of which, student health at the school owes much to the sports department and their daily activities that keep many students busy. There is no short supply of staff guided training activities day and night, varying from Strength and Conditioning sessions beginning at 6:30am to Hockey training at 6:30pm. There are weekly games sessions included in the time table of every student which ensure that Rossall remains a happy and healthy place to be. 

So, put down those phones and turn off those social media advertising campaigns because Rossall’s fresh air and sporting spirit are calling you to live a life that’s more healthy.

Year In Review

That concludes this year’s year in review article we look forward to publishing more reflections from our students next term and wish them all a very happy summer holiday.