Tara Hellings returned to the school today. Our once much loved music and classics teacher is now the Reverend Hellings. I am pleased to report that she is still as eccentric as ever. She lit up our Harvest Festival service with her sincere and gentle touch but not least of all with her fruit and vegetable recognition game. It was a joyous occasion with the whole school together. In such ways we are at our best and it is something that we need to do more often.
It is always reassuring to see how well people are received by the pupils when they return to the school. There are a few individuals who are not so well known who have left the school and returned again on a permanent basis. Kim Leaver is a stalwart of our Domestic/Household team. She worked at Daneshill before I did and left to have a family. She returned in 1991 and I can hardly recall her missing a day in all those years. She is forever cheerful but slightly shy. If, however, you ask her opinion she will give it to you in no uncertain terms. Kim is priceless. Cherie Sanders joined the same department in 1990. She does have quite a lot to say (and don’t I just know it!) but she is equally ever present. The school would be much poorer without her. If Cherie is thinking of going and coming back again she is leaving it rather late after 23 years to do so, but then only a foolish person would even consider such a thing.
Alan Syckelmoore joined Daneshill in 1995 and has been part of the very fabric of the school. If something moves he has moved it. If it doesn’t move he has painted it … several times. If it is broken he has fixed it. If it cannot be repaired he has replaced it. Sports day, school plays (sets and stage) he puts them together and takes them down again. Fireworks, bonfires, car parking, swimming pool, games pitches he is responsible for them all. The grounds are a living tribute to his indefatigable efforts. He is the master of everything mechanical and motorised. If Alan has a day off we hold our breath and cross our fingers just in case the unthinkable happens. He did have the audacity to leave Daneshill for six months (and, oh, how we all noticed the difference when he was away) but he came back again. Eighteen years and still counting.
The reputation of this school depends on so many important people whose efforts often go unnoticed, and yet they would rather be here than anywhere else. There is an apparent wisdom and level of common sense amongst these people because they have seen it all before. Amen to that.
Mr Simon Spencer
I am delighted to welcome Mr Joshua Warwick-Smith who is now a fully-fledged member of staff with responsibility for teaching Latin within the 13+ curriculum.
Mr Simon Spencer
School Council met again this week and the pupils had some very interesting discussions about the sports they love to play and the food they prefer to eat. We moved forward in our plans to become an Eco-School. The first assignment the pupils had was to design an Environmental Review: they will carry out a survey of the school to evaluate where we are good environmentally and where we might improve. This will lead to the development of an Action Plan and the forming of an Eco Committee. Mrs Lock came to the meeting to launch a competition to design an eco-friendly shopping bag that can be used as an alternative to plastic bags.
The designs will incorporate Daneshill and the Environment in some inventive way –drawing begins next week!
Mrs Suzy Dixon
News from the Pre-Prep
How to inspire inquisitive minds…In Science the Year 1 children have been looking at ‘materials’ and their different properties. Where do materials come from? How is glass made? Can materials be recycled? They have been on “feely walks” around the school grounds, looking at lots of different objects. Year 2 have been investigating their ‘senses’ with some fun experiments. Where on your tongue do you taste sweet food? Can you recognise a smell when the object can’t be seen? Which part of your ear vibrates when you hear a sound? In Reception the children have been working under the heading ‘understanding the world.’ They have brought in a shoe box filled with some of their favourite things to show their friends and teachers.
Miss Bridget Bull
The children have had a super week, playing in the sunshine as well as wrapping up warm on the cooler days. They continue to love the outdoor play activities and can regularly be seen at the ‘car wash’ making sure all the trikes are clean before they whizz off on their race tracks. We will aim to be outside each day regardless of what the weather throws at us so please could all the children have a pair of waterproof trousers to be kept at school. Please ensure that these are pull on (no straps), named and come with a hanging hook. We continue to develop the children’s understanding of shapes, specifically circle, square and triangle. They have been drawing some lovely pictures with shape templates and next week will see us going on a shape walk so that they can begin to identify and recognise these shapes within different surroundings. Our clay hedgehogs are coming along beautifully and are all resting on the window sill should you wish to come and have a look – they will be painted and varnished next week so they are still a work in progress!
Miss Kate Flood
James and the Giant Peach
Pupils in Year 4 and Year 5 enjoyed a magical and musical afternoon at the theatre yesterday watching an imaginative and innovative performance of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach. This dark and fantastical tale is, of course, a children’s classic and was wonderfully brought to life on stage. A winning combination of song, peril, comedy and audience participation delighted and engaged the pupils. The experience certainly enriched Year 5’s current study of Dahl’s authorial craft, and provided Year 4 with wizzpopping inspiration for penning their own play scripts.
Mrs Clare Mannion
Harvest Festival Celebration
This morning’s Harvest Festival was the true celebration of Nature’s Bounty that is so appropriate at this time of year. Reverend Tara Hellings gave us an “action sermon” about the different ingredients in the harvest offerings and the different ingredients in us. She kept all ages transfixed with her game of ‘guess the fruit or vegetable’, thus ensuring that we all thought hard about the good fortune that is ours as a result of a wonderful harvest. We celebrated by singing splendidly and thinking about those less fortunate than ourselves. Thank you for all your generous donations for this Festival. We will be delivering them to Launchpad, the charity for the homeless in Reading. Launchpad have already expressed their delight to be receiving such help.
Mrs Suzy Dixon
ISGA Golf Tournament, 2013
On Monday, Alex Brown and Sam Steele (both in Year 8) played a full eighteen holes at The Shire Golf Course in North London. The day started in the fog and, if that wasn’t enough, there seemed to be water all around! One of the most memorable features of the course was the ‘S’ lake, shaped to remember Seve Ballesteros, the course designer. Alex got off to an excellent start scoring points early on. Soon Sam thought it was time to put some points in the bag and found some timely shots too. Considering the boys were up against the whole country, the team (including the teacher!) posted a respectable score.
Mr Tim Soper
This week all Year 5-8 pupils have experienced a taster session of Freestyle Gymnastics, which fuses traditional gymnastic and acrobatic tricks with kicks and leaps made famous through martial arts and brought to worldwide attention by festival performers and stunt actors. ‘FreeG’ has been designed by British Gymnastics to help clubs and leisure centres retain gymnasts within the sport as it captures the power and explosive nature of freestyle activities in sport and brings them indoors.
The pupils have explored skills such as a safety roll, precision, speed vault, wall climb and wall spin. These skills are very challenging and require a level of determination, courage and creativity. The response we have had from the children is that they have thoroughly enjoyed this new style of gymnastics.
I would also like to make a special mention to the Year 6 netball girls this week who were superb in their netball fixture against St Pirans on Wednesday. The A team stormed to victory with a 19-1 win and the B team fought a tough battle to grasp a win of 5-4. Both teams remembered everything they had learnt in their training sessions and put it into practice, dominating the opposition from the start. They showed great team spirit, supporting and encouraging each other all the way. Well done girls, a wonderful achievement.
Miss Kate O’Neill