Daneshill Diary 01/05/15
This morning’s assembly was both emotional and informative as it dealt with the plight of those living in the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Nepal. Mrs Lock, whose in-laws live in Kathmandu, gave an illustrated talk about the geography of the region. Her talk was supported by recent photographs sent from the disaster areas with poignant images of the total devastation that struck the region. These demonstrated clearly why so many have died and why so many others are struggling to survive. Poppy Evans in Year 5 had instigated the idea that Daneshill should attempt to raise funds by making Friday a mufti day. Poppy also spoke very eloquently about how the people in Nepal have so little compared to the affluent lives that we experience and, perhaps, take too much for granted. Philanthropy is very clear to understand when disasters occur but it is vital that through education we learn the significant fact that we all occupy the same planet and that we have a collective responsibility to preserve life.
Year 6 Leavers
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our Year 6 leavers for successfully achieving places at 11+ to the following schools:
Poppy Burnyeat St. Mary’s, Ascot
Alexander Cleaver The Hurst School
Phoebe Lloyd Queen Anne’s, Caversham
Joe Savage Henry Beaufort School
Stan Savage Henry Beaufort School
Hannah Smith Talbot Heath (with Sports Scholarship)
Cameron Spiers Pangbourne College (with Music Scholarship)
Annabel Spratt The Abbey
George Walker Robert Mays
Well done to them all!
The remaining 25 pupils in Year 6 will be remaining at Daneshill for Years 7 & 8.
You could hear a pin drop throughout all of James’ talks on Thursday 23rd April as he engaged the children with his wonderful stories of adventure. Whether it was rowing the Atlantic, cycling around the world or climbing Everest he certainly knows how to hold an audience. His underlying message of determination and persistence resonated amongst the pupils and staff. We wish James and Ash well on their row across the Indian Ocean in a few weeks and we are hoping to make a live satellite link to their rowing boat during an assembly later on this term. Should you or your child wish to follow their progress, updates will be added to the following link http://www.nothings-impossible.co.uk
Fundraising for Nepal
Firstly, a big ‘thank-you’ to Poppy Evans for initiating this event. We have had a wonderful response and we are hoping to raise in the region of £ 1,300.00 for Human Touch. As I mentioned before, Human Touch can react very quickly to those in need. Only yesterday, a big aid company asked if Human Touch could purchase some rice to a village near the epicentre, as food is so scarce. They managed to find a rice factory, buy 600 kilos of rice, and have it sent to the village the very same day. The money you have donated today will provide immediate help that is very much needed to so many people in Nepal. A big ‘thank-you’ to all of you for your support from Daneshill School and Human Touch.
Warrior Adrenaline Race
Last Sunday fourteen of our Year 8 students travelled to Hertford to take part in their first ever obstacle race (Warrior adrenaline race). The pupils were accompanied by a team of staff which included Mr Baldwin, Miss Spencer, Mr Champness and Mrs Blomfield. The staff team tackled the 5km obstacle race first working brilliantly as a team to cross the finish line together albeit a little wet from the well positioned submersion tank just before the finish line!
Next was the turn of our pupils and I can honestly say the children were utterly amazing with their tough mental attitudes and fantastic sense of fun; scaling walls, pulling themselves through muddy wet tunnels, traversing river sections, carrying Bergens, jumping off a 40ft scaffold onto huge inflatable pillows as well as successfully climbing the famous half pipe (with a little help from the Regiment fitness team running the event). The word proud doesn’t even come close to describing how I felt both as the trip leader and a Year 8 class tutor. All pupils excelled themselves in the way they worked as a team, supporting each other and completing an arduous and challenging course; something they have never done before. I am even more pleased to say that despite finishing the event and finding all sorts of scrapes and bruises over the course of Sunday night, first thing Monday morning I was approached by both Year 8 parents and the pupils asking ‘when can we do another obstacle race?!’ A truly successful trip and one which clearly has inspired the team and undoubtedly given them strength for their oncoming three peaks challenge. Thank you to all the staff and the Year 8 parents for coming along to support this great event.
New subscription to enhance language learning at Daneshill
Whilst French and ICT were subjects in the spotlight last term, a couple of forms trialled a new on-line learning resource called Vocab Express. I was absolutely delighted with the results. It is an interactive method of revising and extending vocabulary through competitive games, and enables children to practise their sentence structure as well as topic based key words and phrases.
I am very pleased to be able to confirm that we have taken out an annual subscription for Years 4 and above. Each child has been given a unique username and password and there has been a fantastic response to homework set so far. On the first day of school 4B and 4F were given their first prep using Vocab Express. I left school that evening and just before turning off my computer, had a quick look at the live report… by 6.15pm twelve children had already accumulated impressive scores and were fighting to maintain their positions at the top of their form group! I was able to see who was on line and how long they had been working on their words as well as checking other areas of vocabulary tackled! What a fantastic feeling; keep up the hard work!
Meantime, for the younger year groups as well as those higher up in the Prep school, we have maintained our subscription to Linguascope; a game based on-line resource which is great fun and offers another excellent and enjoyable way of building vocabulary. Year 2 will be given their log-on details this week. Both sites provide entertaining ways to embark on language learning and, equally, are perfect preparation for Common Entrance, as well as catering for GCSE revision and beyond. Enjoy!
News from the Pre-Prep
It has been great to see the Pre-Prep children return to school looking so grown-up, rested and ready for the Summer Term. As a department we are thrilled to welcome Mrs. Moncrieff to Year 1 and all of the children in the Pre-Prep have made her feel right at home.
In Reception the children have been looking at life cycles. They can order the life cycles of butterflies and frogs as well being able to write much more independently, including writing their own captions to go with some life cycle pictures. In mathematics they are learning about telling the time and have now been introduced to o’clock and half past and are annotating their own clocks.
The children in Year 1 have come back full of enthusiasm and settled in well ready for an action packed summer term. This week in Science we have been looking at different seeds as part of our ‘Growing Plants’ topic. The children were very excited about planting their own broad bean seeds and have been checking them regularly to see if there have been any changes. We are sure you will be hearing about what has happened to their seeds over the next few weeks.
Year 2 have returned to school full of life and keen to learn; the highlight being when Florence Nightingale came to visit. The children had the most wonderful day travelling back in time to the Victorian era. With support from some helpful parents, the children were able to complete a huge variety of hands on activities, role plays, detective work, and enjoy conversations with Florence Nightingale herself. They proudly went home with a bag full of their own creations from the day.
We have had a super week in nursery, learning all about Noah and how he took the animals into his ark before the floods. Each child has had a chance to work on our new display and they have all enjoyed singing and dancing to ‘The Animals went in 2 by 2’ and ‘Who built the Ark’. All the animals on the display have been drawn by the children with only simple ‘shape’ instructions given as support – it is amazing what the end results can be when they are guided to draw circles, rectangles and triangles!
We have used the theme in our maths work too and each child has had an opportunity to order 5 different African animals according to their size. Many when faced with the anteater were unsure as to what it was, but one of our youngest children suggested it was an armadillo which was very impressive!
We welcome four new children into our nursery this term and all are settling well. We hope that the warmer weather continues as the outside classroom and playground are such assets on these sunnier days.
Weekly Sports Reports
We kicked off the rounders’ season this week with fixtures against St. Andrew’s School. The U.11 A team looked calm and determined as they took to the batter’s box for their first innings. Poppy Burnyeat started the batting off well by scoring the first rounder after a huge hit deep into the field. More excellent batting followed and Daneshill took the score line into double figures with ease. After 30 balls Daneshill started to field and dominated the St. Andrew.s side from the start. The Daneshill team communicated well and prevented St. Andrew’s scoring numerous rounders by executing accurate throws to the bases and backing each other up brilliantly. An excellent first game for the team!
The U.10’s also played exceptionally well in their games. A great partnership between back stops, Emily Goor and Tilly Scott-Knight, and bowler Maddie Woodcraft, ensured the ball was turned around at speed, preventing many point scoring opportunities. The team impressed with their excellent decision making under pressure and accurate throwing skills.
The U.13 B team did well to stop the ball travelling far with brave fielding and communication from all team members. The catching skills should be commended in particular. A good start for the girls!
The past week and a half has seen a focus on rebuilding. For some, it is the first time they have picked up a cricket ball since last year. For others, they have been netting over the off season and seem in good touch. We have had a real focus in the younger years on our bowling actions and jumping off the correct foot into the delivery stride. It is a process of repetition but once learnt it makes an enormous difference to both the pupils’ own game and the quality of the game as a whole.
In the upper years the focus has been about ‘looking at run up’s’, fine tuning actions and learning to bat whilst thinking about grip, stance, scoring zones and favourite areas to hit. Wednesday showed we have made some good progress and hopefully there is a lot more learning to come. It has been a solid start to the term and hopefully this can carry on, along with the fine weather, in the weeks to come.