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12 amazing hours!

A special gift from the class of 2011. Thanks to Francesco Gallo (IS7 2010/2011) Click here

Available now from Reception (reception @esculham.net or 01235 522621):

• Commemorative Book £10.00
• Festival T-shirts in M, L, XL and XXL £6.00
• Festival mugs £5.00
• Festival bags £2.00
• Recyclable pint glasses with logo £0.50

A personal view by Monica Evason (of course we remember you!):-

Homage to The European School Culham:

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” Albert Einstein

20th May 2017 is a sad/happy day for us all.

Happy because we are celebrating the life of a unique school. One we are all so proud to have been part of over the years. It brought together a very diverse and eclectic set of parents, children and teachers within the context of a unique educational style. Our kids will grow up to be resilient, caring, independent, and culturally aware among many other life skills they acquired during their time at the European School. When other schools ask me how the European School achieved it, I struggle to explain. It just was how it was.

Sad because it is a school that should be allowed to live forever. Whilst the new school that replaces it will no doubt be excellent, they will never know the true spirit of the European School. It cannot be described in words so only those of us who were blessed to have been part of it can really understand what it was like.

We are not able to attend the celebrations for the European School on Saturday so I felt compelled to write and try to shed some light as to what made it such a uniquely special school. Obviously these ideas are completely based on my own personal experience but I very much hope that as a community of European School parents, students and staff we can somehow keep the network going and keep the legacy of the European School alive [editor’s note: go to http://www.alumnieuropae.org/]

In no particular order these are what I believe are the “magic ingredients” of the European School Culham:

1. Its “uniqueness”. There were no school uniforms at the European School. Each and every child came dressed how they wanted and the huge variety of nationalities within the school meant that in the mornings there was always a huge variety of looks going on in the playground. Our favourite game, when we first joined, was trying to guess children’s nationalities by the way they dressed, or walked or spoke. It was a truly international environment. Our International Day was like no other. Differences were celebrated and embraced!
2. Language learning. It goes without saying that by teaching subjects in miscellaneous languages our children didn´t learn language as a subject but as a medium to learning other subjects but it’s important other schools know that whilst educationalists discuss the benefits of this methodology, the European School was ahead of its time and had been doing it for years!
3. Teachers cared. Teachers came from all over Europe as the educational project was based around native teachers bringing over their expertise and national curriculums. Everyone spoke in funny accents. It was what made the school so special. It was our mini Europe right there. No one in that school could have imagined a segregated Europe. We were as one.
I will never forget the head teacher offering to personally drive 3 ½ hours to pick up my son when we had a family tragedy. It wasn´t an empty gesture. I know she would have done it for any of us in an instant. That human touch permeated throughout the school. Teachers cared and it showed.
4. A close-knit community. Remember when the head of the school canteen died suddenly one morning while brushing his teeth? How the children all wept and supported each other through that dark period? We lived through other tragedies within our community and each and every time we came together staff, students and parents. The invincible triangle. There were never any “awkward silences” when parents got together because the parents were all interested in each other and in connecting and that curiosity fed down to our children who as a consequence developed self-confidence (in a healthy way).
5. Children developed independence through osmosis. Whilst some schools go to great lengths to find ways to help children learn independence skills, the European School did it naturally and organically without either the students or the parents realizing it was happening. Waving your daughter off at age 5 for 3 nights with zero contact sounds irresponsible to parents from other schools but we all knew that was part of the school philosophy. They learnt how to be away from home from the word go. The nursery ran woodwork workshops using a real (not plastic) hammer and real (not plastic) nails to create a “chair”. Health and safety officers will no doubt squirm at the notion of letting a 4 year old loose on a hammer but, for the record, by over-protecting our children we are simply not preparing them for life after school. European School kids are more than ready to face the world by the time they leave.
6. Extra-curricular activities. What other school do you know has their extra-curricular activities organized by a semi-voluntary school parent for 30 years? The motivation was not the money, but passion and vocation by the bucket load. I will never forget sitting on a bench one sunny Saturday morning while my son played football hearing Hanne Starling´s extraordinary story about life in the camps during the war when her home village was bombed. She cared about each and every one of the children having as many varied activities as possible, even though she had spent some of her childhood behind barbed wire and had none of the opportunities for the fun she was enabling. She moved heaven and earth to make things happen. Commitment above and beyond the call of duty. And this philosophy permeated throughout the school. She deserves a medal of honour.
7. The students. When you walked into the European School you could see children with fire in their belly. They were naturally curious and hungry for knowledge. Our daughter was fortunate enough to be part of a large congress of students from all the European Schools in Luxembourg. Students mingled with each other with such self-confidence and ease. None of them will need to go on communication skills courses when they are older because they picked that up in the school environment. They weren´t curious because parents or teachers told them to be. They just were. They will all be citizens of the world who believe anything is possible.
8. Connections with ex-students. Just last week an ex-student got a call from the sports teacher inviting him to play basketball with other ex-students against current students. You can´t put a price on that kind of event, reaching out to students long after they have left. That’s priceless. Students wanted to stay in touch because they were part of something that went beyond simply a school.

Just 3 days ago my son was sitting in a bar in Costa Rica with some friends and a young lad walked over to chat to him. After 10 minutes they suddenly realized they both came from the Abingdon area and that they had both been to the European School and that guess what? This lad had travelled around Europe for a month last summer with our daughter! Connections like that will continue to happen because the best gift the European School has given our children is WANDERLUST and a love of life.

We raise a glass to each and every one of you at the European School today.

With all our love
Monica, Phil, Luke, Isabella and Max Evason xxx
19 May 2017

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” Albert Einstein

Click here for the FINAL Festival Programme: FINAL 18.05.17 Festival programme final

Final Update  (18.5.17)
We look forward to welcoming you, as one of over 1900 guests, to our festival on Saturday, 20 May.
Tickets: If you have purchased a ticket, you will have received a reference number (please check your junk or spam if you think you have not received a reference number). You will need this reference number to enter the school site.
Travelling to the Festival
Have you considered alternatives to taking your car? Perhaps you might think about:
Walking? And returning to Abingdon by shuttle bus? There will be a free shuttle bus operating between the lorry / coach park at Rye Farm Car Park in Abingdon and the bus bay at the rear of the school between 16.00 and midnight. The 16-seater bus will operate every half hour and more frequently depending on demand. Please note that there will be no parking in the bus bay. It will operate as a ‘drop and go’ area for the shuttle bus and cars.
Cycling? If cycling from the Abingdon direction, continue past the main gate to the bicycle gate. The bicycle gate will remain open from 12.00 to midnight. There are several bicycle racks between the Chapel and the Art Block. Please do not bring your bicycle beyond the ‘No Cycling’ sign.
Car sharing?
– Taking the train? Trains from both Oxford and Didcot stop at Culham station
Accessing the school site
There will be three car parks in operation, one at the rear of the school, one on the festival field – both accessed from Thame Lane – and one on the field on the other side of the A415. Those travelling from the Abingdon direction will be directed down Thame Lane if spaces are available and if not, into the field across the A415.Those coming from the Clifton Hampden direction will be directed onto the same field. Those parking on the field on the far side of the A415 will walk over the footbridge to access the school. All motorists will be asked for their ticket reference number.
Festival Registration will be on the tennis court – weather permitting! Follow the signs to the registration point where you will be asked for your reference number and may be asked for some form of ID. You will receive a coloured wristband – yellow or blue depending on whether or not you are over 18, a programme and a label for your name.
Festival Shopping: Commemorative books and T-shirts, mugs and bags with the festival logo will be available for purchase. We will have two bars and a cake and coffee stall and there will be several food vendors on the site throughout the festival. The bars will use recyclable plastic glasses with the festival logo.We would greatly appreciate if you could bring some 50p, £1 and £2 coins and £5 notes.
Alcohol will only be sold to those over 18 so you will need to wear your wristband and may be asked for ID. No current ESC students are permitted to drink alcohol on the school site.
Waste Management: We plan to have plenty of bins for both general waste and recycling and ask that you help us to recycle as much as possible.
Please keep an eye on the weather forecast. Bringing waterproof clothing is advisable but you might want to bring a deck chair too as the weather looks set to improve over the course of the day.
Finally, please note that tickets ARE NOT on sale on entry – all tickets must be purchased in advance. There are still a very small number of tickets available at festival2017@esculham.net. Unfortunately, this process does not work smoothly in all cases so if you have a problem, please email maeve.mccarthy@eursc.eu.
The school community has worked hard preparing for our festival and we are looking forward to a wonderful day. See you on Saturday!
On behalf of the Festival Committee


School of Rock are a group of younger secondary students who get together on Wednesday afternoons to rock the house and write their own songs. See and hear them deliver their choice of rock and pop covers with enthusiasm and skill on the Festival stage at 1.30.

Class Dismissed formed for a Muck Up Day years back and has become a gigging band playing a mix of original songs and covers. Several teachers have been in the band over the years. Best known for the end-of-school song “Holy Moly.” Sing along and do a roly poly at the Festival stage 2.30. https://www.facebook.com/ClassDismissedOxford/

Damaged Goods is this year’s S7 band who will play us some energetic rock covers. Expect drawn out guitar riffs and keyboard solos. Festival Stage 3 pm.

The Sabbaticals is a jazz trio whose members are spending their gap year playing as much music as possible at various locations in Europe. We are pleased to have them reunited for our festival, and you can hear them play some jazz standards from the Festival stage at 3.30.

Singer-songwriter Xana Corrie has made her own music since her early teens and has quite a stunning voice. Hear her perform some songs in the Quadrangle at 2.15. https://soundcloud.com/xana-corrie-754661840

Lydia Kavina plays the theremin. “What is that” I hear you ask. The theremin is an electronic instrument that you control without touching it. Very strange and very fascinating. See it with your own eyes when this theremin virtuosa performs her magic in the Quadrangle at 4.30. http://lydiakavina.com/

Pianist Joscha Gutjahr has a wide-ranging repertoire performing jazz, contemporary and classical pieces as well as own compositions. On Saturday he will wow us with his piano skills at 4.45 in the Quadrangle.

Jasper Murison-Bowie plays improvised music and cross-genre compositions. He performs both traditional and modern jazz and will tickle the ivories for us in the Quadrangle at 5 pm.

We have a bunch of talented pupils perform on the day:
Margot, Virginia and Kate will sing with beautiful harmonies, Max Blansjaar – who already performed his own composition nationally when he was 10 – will treat us to some piano,
Neela Nee – who has starred as Dorothy in Oz and been in numerous other musicals – will sing and play the guitar,
The Adams Brothers huddle up to play us some piano,
Sam Gabay and Gustavo Lerche turn up the volume for their set of electric guitar and drums.
Find them all in the Quadrangle between 1.15 and 3.15.

First up is Ran Kan Kan – a 20 piece Cuban style Big Band who will make your feet move with their passionate music when they play on the Festival stage from 19.45 http://www.rankankan.co.uk/

Another act to grace our festival is Tony O’Malley with his funky piano playing and soulful voice. Festival stage 4.30. http://www.tonyomalley.com/

8 May 2017 update
Dear Festival Ticket Holder,
We have now sold over 1,600 tickets for our festival on 20 May and are delighted to present our festival programme to help you plan your day.
You will see that the singing workshop with Lin Marsh and Mandy Smith is confirmed as is the Jazz Band Bash with John Marsh. If you would like to participate in either event, please email hanne.fahl@teacher.eursc.eu.
The following food vendors will be on site:
• Margo and Rita, Mexican food

• Casa das Bolitas

• Pig Roast

• Greek Vegetarian snacks

• Barbarian Grill

• Gourdans Steak Frites

• Cake stall

There will be bars in both the field and the Quad from noon to midnight. You may be asked for identification to purchase alcohol. However, no current students are permitted to drink alcohol on the school site.
Please note that no tickets will be issued for the festival. All you need is your reference number.
Further information will follow closer to the festival. We look forward to seeing you on 20 May
Best wishes
ES Culham

April 28th update

As our European School Festival draws closer, we have now sold over 1300 tickets.
The cake and coffee stall at the festival will be organised by Michelle de la Motte. If you are willing to donate a cake, please email michelle@tuckers.tv. All donations will be gratefully received.
A range of festival T-shirts and hoodies can be ordered NOW and will be delivered on 19 May, so that they can be worn at the festival. Festival mugs are also available. Attached you will find information on how to order items and an order form. When choosing sweater colours, you might like to keep in mind the colours of the festival logos, which are also attached. T-shirts are only available in white.
Order forms MUST be delivered to Reception by the morning of Wednesday 3 May and all items will be delivered to the students on the morning of Friday, 19 May. It would be very helpful if orders could be placed tomorrow or Tuesday so that Antonella Shorrock can begin processing the orders. Please note that orders without payment will NOT be processed.

Festive Shopping – Order Form

Festival Shopping – How To Order final


Our commemorative book has arrived from the printers and is now on sale at Reception at a cost of £10.00. A sample is available to view at Reception.

April update on Festival

Would you like to sing with Lin Marsh and Mandy Smith?

We have now sold over 900 tickets for our festival on Saturday, 20 May. To buy tickets, please contact festival2017@esculham.net .Everyone attending the festival will need a ticket which must be bought in advance.

Singing Workshop??

How about participating in a singing workshop at the festival? For the first – and last- time in the European School, Lin Marsh and Mandy Smith have volunteered to run a singing workshop together. This will take place in the Schuman Hall at 13.00 on Saturday, 20 May. If you would like to participate, please email hanne.fahl@teacher.eursc.eu with ‘singing workshop’ in the subject line by Wednesday, 26 April.

Jazz Band Bash??

A one hour session has been suggested but depends on numbers interested. Taking part would require you to bring along your instrument. The session with John Marsh and Ian Gorman would start at 12.45.If you would like to participate, please email hanne.fahl@teacher.eursc.eu with ‘jazz band bash’ in the subject line by Wednesday, 26 April.
The programme is already taking shape with a great range of music from classical to salsa to rock but have you considered performing? There are still a few slots available on the acoustic stage. If you would like to perform, contact hanne.fahl@teacher.eursc.eu this Friday, 7 April

March 2017 update on Festival
Preparations are under way for our European School Festival on Saturday 20 May and tickets are selling well.
Please note that:
• Tickets WILL NOT be on sale on the day – all tickets must be purchased in advance
• Children aged two or below will not require a ticket.
• Each purchaser is restricted to six tickets.
We will shortly be issuing a programme with timings to help you plan your day.
If you would like to buy tickets, please register at festival2017@esculham.net Unfortunately, this process does not work smoothly in all cases so if you have a problem, please email maeve.mccarthy@eursc.eu

European Festival
20 May 2017
A Celebration of the European School Culham
1978 – 2017

The European School Culham will close its doors for the last time in August 2017. To celebrate the 39 years of our wonderful school, we have planned a programme of events for current and former staff, students and parents.

Events will be spread throughout this academic year but the highlight, the European Festival, will take place on Saturday, 20 May 2017.

We hope to share a day of great music, delicious food and happy memories with the whole European school community of students, staff and parents, present and past.

Please contact us to register your interest in participating on 20 May at festival2017@esculham.net

You are very welcome to pass this message to former colleagues, students and their parents.

Further updates will be available on:

our school website http://www.esculham.eu/

and on our Facebook page EUROPEAN FESTIVAL 2017.

Those who register will be kept updated by email

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday, 20 May 2017