Fifth Form Service Day 2023 - Hurstpierpoint College

Fifth Form Service Day 2023

For this year’s Fifth Form Service Day, groups of students visited different locations around Sussex – some quite local and others further afield. This year the students delved into shooting, farming, community service at local schools, laser tag, woodland work at Wolstonbury Hill, and the Climate Awareness Group learned more about sustainability in agriculture.

CCF Shooting

64 pupils from Hurst CCF Vth deployed onto Stoney Castle Ranges for a day of shooting with their Officers & NCO Instructors. All three services were represented, and shooting was to a very high standard with over 50% of cadets earning the coveted Marksman Badge scoring a grouping of 160mm or less at 100m. All cadets had worked extremely hard to get to this point completing nine weeks of rifle training to reach the required standard. Cadets also enjoyed other activities on the range hosted by the CCF Staff. Capt. Elkington (Shield AHoM) ran a very popular session practicing some mock Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) response drills with Lynx Africa as a dummy nerve agent!

The top shot of the day was Jasper P with a grouping of just 50mm from the 100m point!

Community Service

Over 50 Fifth Form pupils visited four local schools (Woodlands Meed, Albourne Primary School, St Margaret’s Ditchling and The Gattons) and three of the Downlands Churches (Poynings, Edburton and Newtimber) to help with a variety of projects.

At Woodlands Meed, pupils joined in with the day-to-day lessons, engaging and enjoying the company of the other students. At the primary schools, there was a whole range of projects, including tidying workspaces, groundwork, and painting. At the three churches, the pupils helped with weeding and clearing paths and gullies.

It was a day of hard, but fulfilling work, getting to know new people, and an opportunity to make a small contribution to our local community.


Godstone Farm was great fun for the students. The point of the trip was to visit a local smallholding that offered experiences for young children, introducing them to farm animals, fun activities, and some more exotic beasties too, Meerkats! They were fabulously curious little fellows.

Situated in Surrey, the Farm is packed with a cafe, play areas, pet corners with rabbits and introduces the public to big stock animals like Tamworth pigs. The students were briefed to visit the farm and get ideas for how our own smallholding could be developed. They even have a Gloucestershire Old Spot boar there, who weighs in at 318 kilos – and we have three on our own farm.

A great deal of fun was had, and ideas were discussed – could we reintroduce pygmy goats? The pupils also came home with some lovely souvenirs too.

Sports Leaders

The Fifth Form sports leaders tested and developed their teamwork, communication, and cohesion with a day at Horsham Airsoft and Laser tag. Teams had to develop strategies and work together across a variety of maps and challenges to overcome the enemy including capture the flag, helicopter, and bomb diffusion.

On days like this character is not only developed, but also revealed, and this group has plenty of it.


The Fifth Form woodlanders had an excellent day with Mike, the National Trust park ranger at Wolstonbury Hill. The students walked to Wolstonbury from the College on a lovely dry day with views of the Hurst chapel and Sussex Weald. Mike, the ranger, briefed the pupils on how to use the equipment and explained that we would be clearing brambles and small trees by pulling them out by the roots, to prevent them from growing back and for the benefit of the grazing cows. It was a delight to conduct maintenance work on the hill which the students enjoy scaling every ascension day.

The staff attending were impressed by how the pupils conducted themselves throughout the day. Squeaky the dog helped keep morale up in the colder part of the day – the jumbo sausage rolls helped too.

Climate Awareness Group

The Climate Awareness Group travelled to Berkshire College of Agriculture and was given an overview of the campus and the different ways they have worked to encourage sustainability. The day started with a trip to the heat pump which the school has installed which allows them to heat the school effectively – whilst also saving money and electricity.

After a visit to the heat pump, the students then visited their greenhouses and their biomass boiler. The greenhouse specifically contains a series of pipes that travel around the circumference of the room and enables the greenhouse to be heated in a sustainable way and allowing food to be grown all year round as the optimum temperature can be maintained – even in the Winter months. The biomass boiler provides heating to half of the campus buildings on a 400-acre plot and is powered by wood chips sourced from their own willow tree crops on site.

In the afternoon, the students travelled to Langley to meet the VP and visit their newly opened restaurant where the students were greeted with delicious food and drinks prepared by their catering, food tech and bartending students, all in training. Produce is provided from their farm and the café aims to include a vertical herb wall; including things like herbs and lettuces to use in the kitchen. The students also visited their aviation suite to experience how they train cabin crew. This is using a retired plane and having this onsite, reduces the possible carbon emissions.

It was an interesting day for the students to see how sustainability is considered from a building aspect as well as a career focus.