Daneshill Diary 14/02/14

Headmaster’s Notes

The first half of term has been a busy time for pupils in Year 6.  Traditionally it is the time of year when our 11+ candidates sit their entrance examinations for Senior Schools.  Now that we have extended our year groups to 13+ many of our pupils also take pre-test assessments to qualify for places at 13.

Our curriculum is designed to be progressive so that all candidates are prepared for any type of assessment in Year 6 and with a little fine tuning they are all in a strong position to be successful, whatever the challenge. This year our candidates who sat 11+ CE successfully secured places at Farnborough Hill, Lord Wandsworth, St Swithun’s and Sherborne Girls.

The vast majority of our current Year 6 pupils are remaining at Daneshill for Years 7 and 8.  At 13+ they are heading to 18 different schools, which in addition to those listed above, include Bradfield, Canford, Downe House, Eton, Marlborough, Pangbourne, Radley, St Gabriel’s, Wellington and Winchester.  Many of our pupils have already pre-qualified whilst others are in the process of doing so.

Mr Simon Spencer

Wilde at Heart

Can the goodness of children melt the cold heart of a selfish giant?

This week Year 3 pupils enchanted audiences with their lively yet poignant interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s classic tale, The Selfish Giant.  In the story a Giant builds a high wall around his beautiful garden to prevent the children from playing in it.  However, he is taught a valuable lesson when spring does not return and the garden remains in winter all year round.  One morning the unusual sound of bird-song and the sight of a small, frail child trying to climb a tree remind the Giant how selfish he has been.  He knocks down the wall, spring returns and he is happy that his garden is now free for all to enjoy.

Daneshill’s dining room was transformed into a magical garden and the play provided many opportunities for the children to display their dramatic and musical talents therein.  Year 3, of course, know a lot about kindness and sharing, so yes – the giant’s heart did indeed melt and Spring returned to his icy garden.

This heart-warming story touches on many themes, especially those of change, hope, friendship and, aptly perhaps for a Valentine’s Day performance, the transforming power of love.

Mrs Clare Mannion

Adventure, Leadership and Service

At the midway point of the year I wanted to take a moment to reflect upon the developments in ALS since September.  Climbing qualifications have been secured through nothing but hard graft and dedication, and the fact that not all have passed has served to reinforce the message that our new Adventure programme is anything but child’s play.  Similarly, most of our senior pupils are now on course to refining their ski skills and qualifying as Rookie Lifeguards.

As I mentioned at the start of the year, however, Adventure, Leadership and Service are now values which underpin the entire senior school experience at Daneshill and are no longer just for Thursday afternoons.  The new School Council and Eco-Council allow our older students to become role models and community leaders, pioneering a number of initiatives already.

It has also, just this week, been confirmed that Pre-Prep staff will be coaching our Year 8 pupils to listen to our young readers, encouraging and giving advice as they go.  The expectation that students in Years 6 to 8 lead the pupil body and give something back to their school is one we take very seriously, and the values of Leadership and Service will be further embraced over the coming terms.

Mr Andy Webster

News from the Pre-Prep

How eco-friendly are you?

The Pre-Prep have transformed their hallway into an advice centre on how to be green.  Do you switch off the tap while brushing your teeth?  Do you remember to turn off lights in your house when you are not using a certain room?  How much are you able to recycle each week?  Do you recycle newspaper, glass, plastic and aluminium?  These are just some of the questions posed – come and visit and learn some amazing facts.

Year 1 and 2 children and teachers had a great giggle and exercised hard for Buddy the NSPCC mascot on Tuesday afternoon.  Reception did a fun circuit of various sporting skills too.

There are some very tired children who have worked really hard over the last few weeks and deserve a well-earned restful half term break.  May we wish you all a happy and (fingers crossed) a sunny week.                                                                                                                                                   

Miss Bridget Bull

Nursery Corner

What weather – but we have survived, and what a joy it is to be able to wrap them all up in their waterproofs in order to continue our time outside despite these downpours. The birds seem to be braving the weather a little more too and our bird feeders are alive with the blue tits, robins, greenfinch and nuthatch that we had always hoped would visit. Our week has ended with a number of rounds of ‘Bird Bingo’, which is a real hit with all the children – do take a look at it on-line – it is fabulous and a perfect game for all the family from young to old!

The children continue to thoroughly enjoy learning the sound of the week and they all join in with the ‘Jolly Songs’ with great enthusiasm.  Going through these sounds has become an integral part of our daily routine and the children have quickly progressed with some now able to build sounds into words – we really have had some ‘wow’ moments with them all this half term.

We have loved hearing about the children’s plans for half term – so many of them are so excited about seeing and staying with grandparents – how special it is and timely to have this break in the term. Have a relaxing week and we look forward to seeing you all back for a week with the ‘Smartest Giant in town’!

Miss Kate Flood

Active Kids Vouchers

I am pleased to let you know that Sainsbury’s are running their Active Kids scheme again this year. Vouchers are available to collect from all Sainsbury’s stores, petrol stations and when ordering groceries online, until 20th May 2014. We have put a voucher collection box in the front entrance hall and hope that we will collect record numbers this year!

We are able to exchange vouchers for a range of equipment, and the children benefit from using this sports kit during lessons and break times. Happy shopping!

Mrs Cathy Barnes

Sporting Fixtures
Boys                                                                                     Girls:
RUGBY TERM                                                                        HOCKEY TERM
Wednesday 12th February                                                   Wednesday 12th February & Friday 14th February
All matches cancelled                                                       All matches cancelled

Weekly Sports Reports

It was the U9’s first hockey match of the season (on Friday 7th February) and, after weeks of matches being cancelled, they were raring to go. The opposition were well drilled and tactically strong but the Daneshill girls worked hard and spurred each other on. Daneshill unfortunately lost both games but it hasn’t dampened the girls sprits and they’re ready for a re-match soon!

Despite only having a couple of practices this term, the U8 netball teams were bursting with confidence as they walked onto the court to play High Fives (an adapted game of 5-a-side netball) last week. Both teams started strong, scoring early goals, but by half time Daneshill had taken the lead. It was fantastic to see the Daneshill squads dominating game play with superb shooting and strong defence. The girls were really versatile and happy to change positions whenever required, showing great team spirit. The final scores were 6-0 and 5-3 to Daneshill: superb results.

This week saw the end of the Inter-house Gym competition with Years 4-5 competing on Monday night. The Year 4 gymnasts have been working on their somersaults and handspring vaults this term.  Some pupils performed with support, whilst Archie Beresford Davies and Archie Lloyd performed the skills on their own. The competition was dominated by Archie Beresford Davies’ powerful and complex skills resulting in him winning floor, vault and trampette.

In Year 5, the skills moved up a level and we witnessed twisting somersaults and back flicks from many children. Beatrice Hindley demonstrated graceful, aesthetic and precise movements, achieving top marks for Yellow house, and Cameron Spiers completed dynamic vaulting and complex somersaulting. Cameron has worked really hard this term, perfecting these difficult skills.

The result was close but Yellow house came 1st, Red house 2nd and Blue House 3rd. Unfortunately, Green house had no representatives.

Well done to all of those who competed and thank you to all those parents who gave their support. A big thank you must also go to Mrs Doyle who has put in a tremendous amount of work to help the gymnasts achieve such wonderful results. 

The squads are now working on their routines for a competition at Edgbarrow School in Crowthorne on 23rd March. Our teams will be competing against several local clubs. Good luck and keep training hard!

Miss Kate O’Neill

Well, it has been a wet and windy week of sports.  The fields are still water logged, though thankfully they are not as waterlogged as other places around the country!  The foul weather has meant the cancellation of fixtures, which is a shame.  Still, we have continued our training regime and our game-based sessions have seen an improvement in handling and game awareness.  We now look forward to the next fixtures after half term.

I wish everyone a good rest and safe and happy half term.

Mr Scott Baldwin