The School continues to make strong progress towards fulfilling our aim of becoming a serious 13+ option for all our pupils.
This week all three of our Year 7 candidates for Marlborough College were offered definite places. This is a pivotal moment in our development and adds Marlborough to Canford, Eton and Harrow as new destinations where Daneshill pupils have been offered places this academic year.
Naturally we still support a whole range of different schools both at 11+ and 13+ but whilst we continue to do so it is always exciting to break new grounds and in doing so make new friendships with colleagues at senior schools. Well done to Bella Bullen, Elysia Rougier and Holly Smith though for successfully completing the first step of the process. Only the exams to go!
Another exciting moment this week happened when hounds appeared in the grounds on Wednesday. Much fun was had by all, particularly when one of them appeared for match tea. Many thanks to all the parents who helped collar the hound and return them safely home.
Science – Crime Busters
On 12th March at approximately 7.10am a serious crime was uncovered at Daneshill School. Magnus had been stolen and a ransom note left. Who would commit suggest a heinous crime? Police officers (and rather giggly ones at that!) guarded the crime scene and reassured anxious parents that the culprit would be brought to justice and that the crime would be solved by sun down. It was up to 18 pupils across years 5-8 to solve the mystery and make the necessary arrest.
The crucial first hours after the crime was discovered were spent getting suitably dressed from head to toe in forensic outfits, carefully analysing the crime scene and collecting the necessary evidence in plastic bags ready to be analysed in the laboratory later. The group then discussed the evidence and put forward their suggestions for possible suspects to be interviewed. The determined young detectives/forensic scientists marched over to the main building in pursuit of handwriting samples, pen samples and finger prints from their suspect teachers and compared the evidence with that from the crime scene. At approximately 12.15pm Anna Swart made the ground breaking discovery of a partial finger print which the children had lifted and mounted from the crime scene and this was enough to convict Mr Spencer Junior of the serious crime stated above. Mr Baldwin was the leading prime suspect for most of the morning but the finger print sample confirmed his innocence!
It was a fantastic and challenging morning for the children who showed immense enthusiasm, incredible aptitude and impressive scientific skills including code breaking, chromatography and finger print lifting and identification. I am pleased to say that Magnus is back in his rightful place and is none the worse for this experience!
On Monday evening, all of Year 6 headed to the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton to enjoy a performance of War Horse. This show is renowned for its innovative use of puppetry with full size horses seemingly coming to life on the stage. Such was the extent of the artistry that ‘Joey’, our hero horse, received a standing ovation at the end with every single Daneshillian being part of that cheering crowd!
The rationale behind the visit to War Horse was that it dovetails beautifully with another Michael Morpurgo book which Year 6 have been studying in English, namely ‘Private Peaceful’. It was also a cross-curricular experience as they have additionally been studying World War 1 in history. This ensured that they were more than familiar with the period in which this story is set.
War Horse was a gripping and action-packed show, so much so that whenever I looked along our row the children were literally on the edge of their seats! Morpurgo has written another emotional story that draws you into the characters and their experiences both in agricultural England and on the battlefield in France. It is rare to find oneself shedding some empathetic tears with a puppet horse and its owner, but I know that I was not alone in reaching for a hanky!
Mrs Moore, Mr Baldwin and I thoroughly enjoyed taking Year 6 on this trip and can confirm that their theatre etiquette was refined! Despite their late night they have also maintained their enthusiastic pace all week.
Year 4 trip to the Wolf Sanctuary
Whether it’s the wicked wolf of ‘Peter and the Wolf’ or the cunning, grandmother gobbling wolf of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, the wolf suffers from a serious image problem! As part of their Science study Wolves and their Adaptations, Year 4 had begun to unravel popular misconceptions. With a visit to the Wolf Sanctuary near Reading this week, children improved their understanding of these magnificent animals further. The trip included an introduction to the wolves of the Sanctuary, walking with Mai (a wolf of Canadian descent), feeding the ‘Beenham Pack’ – Nuka, Tala and Tundra, and a howling finale! What better way to understand wolves than by gaining first-hand experience.
Year 3 trip to Haslemere Museum
As part of their Science topic ‘All About Us’, an excited Year 3 travelled through the fog to Haslemere Museum. They took part in a variety of hands on sessions – assembling a human skeleton, looking at bones and X-rays in detail, and exploring the Natural History gallery. Following a picnic lunch in beautiful sunshine, the children also made ‘replica’ fossils and took part in a drama session to demonstrate how a dinosaur fossil is made. They enjoyed handling real fossils, completing detailed drawings and experiencing the Geology Gallery with its giant Jurassic Ammonite. A fantastic trip!
News from the Pre-Prep
Reception have started their new topic farm this week. We have been learning about different farm animals and the produce we get from them. This is in anticipation for our farm trip next week.
The children in Year 1 thoroughly enjoy their circle time discussions where they are given an opportunity to discuss their feelings and get to know their peers. This week the children have been thinking about special people, who is special to them and who they are special to. We heard lots of expected responses e.g. mummy and daddy. Some children shared their special teddies, pets, friends and wider family members.
In Year 2 the children have become budding authors creating their own story boards and writing some really amazing stories about a tiny creature that they have created and named. These stories have been inspired following an in depth study of the book ‘The Bog Baby’ by Jeanne Willis. To the children’s great excitement following emails to Jeanne, they received personal responses from the author, who is going to display some of their art work on her web site. Please visit http://www.jeannewillis.com/BlogLatest.html to see the children’s work.
Weekly Sports Reports
The U8 netball teams were bursting with enthusiasm before their fixture against The Oratory on Friday 7th March. The girls had been working hard in lessons, focusing on creating space and fast passing and they didn’t disappoint as they dominated game play in the early stages of the game. I was very impressed with the speed at which they moved the ball down the court and the shooters whizzed around their defenders brilliantly to take the ball in a strong shooting position. The girls proved to be incredibly versatile too as they moved positions and between teams frequently. Both teams recorded brilliant wins and I was delighted with the results of 9-0 and 4-1.
A busy week of hockey started with the U13 teams competing against St Gabriel’s on Tuesday afternoon. The girls have really impressed our coaches over the past few weeks with their mature game play and tactical decision making. Lessons have focused on strong and accurate passing and we were delighted to see them put these skills into play. The A team won their game 4-1 but unfortunately the B’s lost 3-1. The girls in the U13 B’s can take confidence from this result though as they were playing against the St Gabriel’s A team after all!
The U10’s have really turned a corner in recent weeks. They have worked incredibly hard in lessons and are unquestionably much more focused. This became evident in their matches against Lyndhurst on Wednesday as they were calm and composed; their game play was controlled and they appear to have grown in confidence. The girls dominated Lyndhurst from the start and the goals just kept on rolling! A superb win of 7-0 to the A team with the B team winning 3-1.
The U9 hockey teams travelled to The Abbey on Thursday. The girls fought incredibly hard against their experienced teams, moving well to create space and pass accurately. The girls played on a full size pitch which was a new experience for some of them but they drilled down and battled hard regardless. The final scores were 1-4 to the A team but the B team did well to secure a win of 2-1.
This week has seen some very close fixtures against St Piran’s and St Georges Windsor. St Piran’s are a notoriously strong school and this Wednesday saw some of the best match ups of the season. The Firsts fought bravely against a much bigger St Georges unit. It was the second week running that they had to defend against boys who were simply larger and Mr Croker was very proud of their efforts again this week. The Colts A side lost by 4 points after an extremely spirited performance, which very nearly saw them topple the favourites. The Colts B side put in a stirling performance. A very competitive match saw them go down by one try but there was not a head hanging in despair as they knew they had given it their all. The Colts C fought out a fantastic draw, scoring 2 tries in the last 2 minutes. This was a fitting result given their rugged defence and ‘never say die’ attitude.
Last Saturday was also the day of the St Georges 7’s tournament. Every year we head to Windsor to compete against some of the best prep schools in the area. This year the U10 A’s showed what they were made of, winning 3 out of 5 matches and in doing so winning the plate competition. This was our best finish yet and the boys can be really proud of their achievement. Well done them!