Daneshill Diary 02/10/15

Headmaster’s Notes

The pupils in Years 7 and 8 were fortunate this week to be given an inspirational talk by James Shone entitled ‘I am and I can’.  After being appointed as a preparatory school Headmaster, James was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumour, which led to him losing his sight, his ability to walk, and his dream job. A married man with four children he faced a dramatic future. His extraordinary story began from an inner belief that he could overcome what to most people would have seemed impossible odds. At the depths of his darkest prognosis James was able to draw upon a determination and resilience that would ultimately lead to his recovery.

These life changing experiences have left James profoundly aware of the human spirit that lies within every one of us and the belief that we can all achieve, however significant the odds against us might appear to be.  In his evening talk to parents and staff, he focused on the theme that as adults we need to have a much more open understanding of the challenges that face children in today’s world. It is imperative that we truly know and acknowledge the positive qualities that exist in all young people without seeking to categorise them into examples of our own making. Children of the future need to be resilient, undaunted by failure and most significantly not fearful of failing in order to become stronger. Compassion for others will guarantee a far more tolerant society where there is room for everyone to grow according to who they want to be without being constantly judged by others.

It was certainly a thought provoking evening that left us all determined to be better people with a greater understanding of the important role that we can play as teachers and parents.

Mr Spencer

Musical Notes

The music department has had a very encouraging start to the new academic year with lots of pupils wishing to start a musical instrument with one of our visiting staff. There are currently over 160 lessons taking place every week.

So what are the benefits of music learning?

It is one thing to be involved in music passively, by listening, but it’s another thing entirely to make music by playing an instrument or by singing. Through active, progressive involvement in music making, the benefits really multiply.

So, what happens when you play an instrument or sing? You’re doing a number of very different things, simultaneously. On the one hand you draw on a group of cognitive skills: thinking, controlling, analysing and reading and on the other hand, you call on more instinctive and emotional abilities relating to imagination, perception, creative understanding and musical meaning.

Rarely is such a wide range of skills and abilities present in one activity, but when you play an instrument, including your singing voice, they are all brought together at the same time. The amazing thing about making music – the unique lifelong benefit- is that it forges vital connections between all these different types of skills and activities. Creating these connections is especially valuable during childhood and teenage years of growth, education and personal development. The benefits will then be there whatever a young person’s ambitions are – musical or otherwise.

Mr Soper

News from the Pre-Prep

The children in Reception have had a super time learning about dinosaurs. They now know all about carnivores and herbivores. They have looked at different types of dinosaurs and the different features they had. They all pondered what might have happened to the dinosaurs to make them extinct.  Some of us are glad that they no longer live with dinosaurs as they don’t want to be eaten by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. They were amazed that each of his teeth was the same size as a banana! Megan said “I don’t want to be his snack!”

We have had a wonderful week in Year 1 starting with the introduction of phonics lessons. The children have been learning some new sounds such as ‘ch’ ‘sh’ and ‘ai’. We were delighted to see how successful the children were when asked to break down a word by pushing the sounds onto their fingers and then blending them together to say the whole word. In Maths the children have learnt about doubling single digit numbers and finding 1 more or 1 less than a given number up to 20. The children particularly enjoyed adding spots on insects to help visualise the concept of doubling.

As soon as the children in Year 2 stepped off the bus at Butser Ancient Farm they were transported back in time to a land ruled by the Celts. Their senses were overcome as their first meeting was held inside an authentic, dark, smoky, wattle and daube built roundhouse. No rest for our Celts though as it was straight to work in the fields. The children loved finding pieces of chalk and banging them into dust with their Butser bashers (hammers made from a tree branch). The dust was then mixed with mud, water and dried grass to make ‘clunch’ which the children then used to build part of a new wall. Our next activity was moulding clay thumb pots with feathers used to create patterns. Everyone enjoyed their picnic lunch sitting on the South Downs on a beautiful sunny day. More fun was had in the afternoon and there is no better learning than an interactive and hands-on experience.

Pre-Prep Teachers

Nursery Corner

The Nursery has been a very noisy place this week as we introduced the ‘t’ sound and ended up with an awful lot of terrifying tigers roaring and leaping around. Everyone enjoyed making their tiger puppets and we do hope that these practical craft activities reinforce what we are covering with each sound.

With this continuing sunshine many of the children enjoyed a more peaceful afternoon walk in our beautiful grounds, collecting leaves, feathers, seeds, bark and other Autumnal treasure to then create our Autumn colour wheel, which was a real delight. We looked at the different textures of trees and barks as well as the huge range of reds, oranges, yellows and greens that we are spoilt with by nature.

The numbers 1, 2 and 3 have been playing hide and seek with the children and are constantly on the move around the Nursery. Do have a look out for them when you drop the children off in the mornings. We have all been having lots of fun spotting them!

Mrs Beeching

Sporting Fixtures



Wednesday 30th September

U.13 A vs. Dolphin                                  W 4 – 0

U.13 B vs. Dolphin                                  W 6 – 1

Colts A vs. Dolphin                                 W 9 – 1

Colts B vs. Dolphin                                 W 7 – 0

Colts C vs. Dolphin                                W 3 – 0

Friday 2nd October

U.9 A vs. Dolphin                                   W 5 – 4

U.8 A vs. Dolphin                                   W 8 – 1

U.8 B vs. Dolphin                                   W 7 – 1



Wednesday 30th September

U.13 A vs. The Marist                          L 11 – 13

U.13 B vs. The Marist                          L 0 – 4

U.11 B vs. Beechwood                       W 5 – 0

U.10 B vs. Beechwood                       W 5 – 0

Thursday 1st October

U.11 A vs. Alton Convent T’ment        2nd

Friday 2nd October


U.9 A vs. Marlston House                    D 0 – 0

U.9 B vs. Marlston House                    W 1 – 0

U.9 C vs. Marlston House                    L 0 – 4

U.8 A vs. Marlston House                    L 0 – 3

U.8 B vs. Marlston House                    D 2 – 2

The U.11 girls competed in the first netball tournament of the year on Thursday afternoon. They travelled to Alton Convent to play in the round robin competition against Alton Convent, Frensham Heights, Sherborne House, Kings Court and Mayville. The sun was shining and the conditions were perfect for their first game against Mayville. Daneshill hit the ground running and managed to shoot brilliantly, scoring 5 goals in just 8 minutes. They won the match 5-0 and took their confident and dominant approach into the following few games against Alton Convent, Frensham Heights and Kingscourt, winning all comfortably. Sherborne House was the only loss of the afternoon, but our girls fought bravely until the final whistle and gave a gutsy and energetic performance. Special mention to our defenders who played their socks off against a VERY tall Goal Attack! Overall, the team came in runners up position. A wonderful squad effort by all of the team.

The U.13’s faced a strong Marist team on Wednesday afternoon and did exceptionally well to finish with a score of 11-13. There was some very impressive court play and excellent speed in attack which left the Marist defenders spinning in circles at times! Excellent defending ensured their accurate shooters were denied countless opportunities to score and I was particularly impressed with the girls’ work rate for the duration of the game.

The U.9 A netballers also had a good start to their season, winning their first fixture against Highfield 13-1. All teams demonstrated the skills and techniques their coaching sessions had reinforced in training and in their masterclasses this term, which was a delight to see.

Miss O’Neill

This week the boys have been focusing on becoming better athletes in order to become better footballers. Lessons have seen a lot of focus on SAQ work and dribbling with the ball at their feet. Agility, balance and coordination are intrinsic concepts that are built into these practices and they are very important for long-term gain.

Good teams are built from the back, forward and there has also been an emphasis this week on defending. Fixtures against Dolphin provided a great opportunity to see these skills develop and it was lovely to see the boys trying so hard on Wednesday and Friday in the glorious sunshine. There will undoubtedly be sterner tests but hopefully the Daneshill qualities of resilience and enthusiasm can combine again next week to see yet further development.

Mr Baldwin